Lara Gut-Behrami rallies to win Alpine skiing World Cup opener
Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from fourth place after the first run to win the Alpine skiing World Cup season-opening giant slalom in Sölden, Austria, on Saturday.
Gut-Behrami overcame a deficit of 73 hundredths to edge first-run leader Federica Brignone of Italy by two hundredths combining times from two runs.
American Mikaela Shiffrin, the World Cup wins record holder with 88, placed sixth.
“The first (giant slalom) race of the season last year was Killington (on Nov. 26), and I was 13th,” said Shiffrin, who won the last five World Cup GS races last season, plus the world championships. “This year, I am sixth. It’s an improvement from the start last year.
“It is a step-by-step process, which I accept more now in my career than I did maybe five years ago.”
Gut-Behrami, 32, earned her 38th World Cup victory — second-most among active Alpine skiers behind Shiffrin. She owns three victories in Sölden, the first in 2013.
“I made so many mistakes, both runs,” she said. “I’m getting older, but I’m happy.”
Gut-Behrami, a very distant second in last season’s overall standings behind Shiffrin, became the second-oldest woman to win a World Cup GS after Austrian Anita Wachter.
Performing well in GS can be key to Gut-Behrami challenging Shiffrin for this year’s overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Standings are determined by a skier’s results across all disciplines over the World Cup season that runs into March.
Gut-Behrami’s best events over her 16-year career have been downhill and super-G, while Shiffrin is strongest in GS and slalom.
Brignone, 33, was bidding to become the oldest woman to win a World Cup GS.
The men race a GS in Sölden on Sunday, live on Peacock.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.