Friday, February 24, 2017

Federica Brignone Wins Alpine Combined in Crans Montana

Today, Federica Brignone of Italy took the first victory of the 3-day weekend in Crans Montana, Switzerland, dominating the alpine combined with a total time of 1:56.09. She was joined on the podium by Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia in second and Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria in third. Both athletes were more than a second off the winning pace.
After several forerunners including Olympian Julia Mancuso crashed, the race began with the first three athletes–Stuhec, France’s Tessa Worley and Switzerland’s Denise Feieraband–all skiing out.
The jury decided to lower the super-G run to the reserve start and restart the field from the beginning.
At 11:30 am, the race began again at the lower start. Stuhec ran with bib 1 and this time, she charged down the super-G course to take the lead, overcoming nerves from her first go-around at the course. The Slovenian found herself 0.52 seconds ahead of Brignone and 0.69 seconds ahead of Kirchgasser, heading into the slalom portion of the day.
In the slalom, Kirchgasser was the first of the trio to see the green light at the finish. But Brignone produced an impeccable slalom run (third fastest) to surpass the Austrian. Stuhec did her best to make it down the slalom set, but she ultimately finished in second place, 1.01 seconds from Brignone. Kirchgasser rounded out the podium 1.16 seconds back.
Federica Brignone, who had never podiumed in an alpine combined before, surprised herself with the win.
"I was really surprised", the Italian said. "It was not easy. The slalom was really steep and bumpy, but I just tried to attack the slalom and not be attacked from the slalom. I tried to follow the rhythm and stay on the line, but then I didn’t think I would be fast, but then I was".
Current alpine combined standings leader Stuhec said it's still too early to talk about the season title.
"I’m feeling a bit tired actually. It’s been quite a long day, but it’s always nice to stand on the podium. We still have one more race to go, and then we can talk about the globe".
Just 0.17 seconds behind Stuhec was Kirchgasser, repeating her performance from World Championships in St. Moritz. This marked the Austrian’s seventh career World Cup podium in the discipline.
"It’s pretty cool because…between speed skiing and technical skiing, it’s really awesome because you really have to change all of it between runs", Kirchgasser said. "You have to change not only just the skis, but also have to change the boots and also the skiing".

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