Mikaela Shiffrin discusses with the media her reasoning for not starting Friday’s alpine combined in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. (Crans-Montana-David Clivaz)
CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (Feb. 24, 2017) – The Audi FIS Ski World Cup resumed after the World Championships break with challenging conditions in Crans-Montana which saw the top U.S. racers withdrawing from the start. Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) maintained her overall Audi FIS Ski World Cup lead despite not starting Friday’s alpine combined event.
Italy’s Federica Brignone won the race, which was delayed due to fog and soft course conditions for the first run super G. It was Brignone’s fourth career World Cup victory. Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec was second, followed by Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser in third. Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) and Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) did not start the first run.
With Shiffrin on the sidelines, Stuhec took advantage of the opportunity to move 80 points closer to Shiffrin - but still 338 points back from the overall lead. Five speed and four tech events remain on the calendar, plus another alpine combined on Sunday. Switzerland's Lara Gut remains second, but is out for the season.
Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) finished 35th in the first run super G, but did not start the second run slalom. Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR) and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, CA) did start the super G, but failed to finish.
“I said before coming into this series, knowing that the weather was supposed to be warm and maybe some snow and rain, that if it wasn’t good, I’m not going to race,” Shiffrin said.
Up next, the women race super G Saturday, followed by another alpine combined Sunday in Crans-Montana.
Lindsey Vonn did not participate in Friday’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup race due to course safety concerns. (Crans-Montana-David Clivaz)
“The problem (with the course) right now is that it’s not cold enough to freeze, and it’s not warm enough for the salt to work,” Vonn said. “If we get a little cooperation with the weather and the salt works, I think it could potentially be OK (for racing Saturday and Sunday).”
Italy’s Federica Brignone won her fourth career World Cup race Friday, an alpine combined in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Road to Aspen: Mikaela Shiffrin maintained her overall World Cup lead with 1,203 points. Switzerland’s Lara Gut, who is out for the remainder of the season, is second with 1,023 points. Stuhec moved up to third overall with 865 points, picking up 80 points on Shiffrin but still 338 points back. Stuhec also leads the alpine combined overall standings with 180 points.
QUOTES Lindsey Vonn For me, it’s disappointing that we’re even starting this race. The athletes' safety should be the number one priority and it’s not. For me, it’s not safe enough to race. Of course, everyone has the decision to race if they want to, but I still think that the FIS is making the wrong decision right now.
Mikaela Shiffrin I said before coming into this series, knowing that the weather was supposed to be warm and maybe some snow and rain, that if it wasn’t good, I’m not going to race.
I don’t have enough experience in speed, but to be honest, it’s just dangerous. It’s so soft at the bottom.