Sunday, February 28, 2016

Marie-Michèle Gagnon Takes Victory in Soldeu El Tarter Alpine Combined

Marie-Michèle Gagnon takes her second career Word Cup win after two solid runs in FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Soldeu Alpine Combined, the first also coming in the combined in 2014 in Zauchensee. Since then, she earned just one other podium place, third place in the Crans-Montana slalom this season.
Swiss sensation Wendy Holdener finished second, 0.20 seconds off the pace, while French Anne-Sophie Barthet rounded out the podium, 0.61 out.
"I wasn’t expecting a win", Gagnon said. "I was surprised. I was hoping for a podium. That’s always a good result, and I knew that I was skiing strong. My super-G was pretty good yesterday. I started 52 and came 23rd. For me, I was pretty happy with that. And today, I was able to put down a pretty solid run in the super G and also, my confidence is good with slalom. After two weekends ago, I had my first podium in like four years in slalom, so it’s really good. Just having that confidence moving into alpine combined where both of the races were kind of like perfect snow, I would say. It was just really a good day, I guess".
Wendy Holdener has been on a roll lately, she earned her first career victory on Tuesday evening at the city event in Stockholm and followed up today with the second place finish.
"For sure, it’s my best week in ski racing", Holdener confessed. "Today, I had a good super-G. It wasn’t perfect, but it was really good for me. The slalom was 'so la la'. It wasn’t my best skiing, but I’m happy with today".
"I like the speed disciplines since I was a little child", continued the 22-year-old. "But for now, I have to get better in GS and after that maybe I have more time for speed disciplines, but at the moment, I like the alpine combined".
Rounding out the podium was Anne-Sophie Barthet who made an impressive move from bib 47 to earn her first World Cup podium finish.
"I can say that the last 10 years were a little bit difficult and so today it’s like we won a little bit", she reflected. "There was a lot of frustration during those 10 years and today was just one race, it managed to erase everything. Just a wonderful day and think maybe it can also be a fresh start".
But perhaps the most compelling story line of the day, was the amazingly quick return of American Lindsey Vonn, who had to be evacuated from the course after a mild crash yesterday, but returned in a big way today, laying down the fastest time in the super-G.
Also earning a lot of credit for their efforts, was the Organising Committee in Soldeu, which battled touch weather conditions all weekend and still hosted two successful races.

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