Brignone wins crash-marred super-G as Gut-Behrami wraps up title

·3 min read
Austria's Rosina Schneeberger is transported away by helicopter after crashing in the women's World Cup super G in Val di Fassa

Federica Brignone halted Lara Gut-Behrami's winning streak on Sunday to take a women's World Cup super-G interrupted twice by heavy crashes.

Brignone, an Italian, who won the overall title last year, took her first victory of the season in 1 minute 14.61 seconds in Val di Fassa.

Gut-Behrami was 0.59sec behind in second but that was good enough to ensure that, with one race left, she will win the small globe, her third, for the discipline.

The Swiss skier had won downhills on Friday and Saturday to edge to the top of the overall standings and on Sunday increased her lead over Slovakian slalom specialist Petra Vlhova who was 32nd.

"After these three days I will be happy to have a few days rest, it will give me time to recover," Gut-Behrami said.

"For the moment it doesn't mean anything. Everything can still happen, things change very quickly. I just stay focused on my skiing."

Gut-Behrami's closest challenger in the super-G standings Corinne Suter, another Swiss skier, was third.

Gut-Behrami continued a streak which has brought 11 podium finishes in her last 12 races since January 23 and which includes three medals, two gold and one bronze, in the World Championships at Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Brignone, on the other hand, has had a miserable time recently.

Home hopes were high for the Italian at the World Championships but she struggled in the super-G, crashed out in the slalom in the combined after setting the fastest time in the first run and finished the parallel in tears after being knocked out in the quarterfinals by compatriot Marta Bassino.

She finished only 17th and 23rd in the downhills on Friday and Saturday but rediscovered her form on Sunday to record her 16th World Cup victory, tying Deborah Compagnoni for most by an Italian woman.

"I had some difficult moments," she said. "I'm skiing better than at the beginning of the season, but until now I couldn't do it in races, it was very frustrating.

"I have confidence on the skis but until now I was doing too much, maybe I was too aggressive, too hungry for victories. But I never gave up."

The race was interrupted twice as first Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie and then Austrian Rosina Schneeberger crashed heavily. Both had to be lifted off the course by helicopter.

Lie, starting 13th, lost her footing halfway through her run, spinning, falling and then sliding at speed into the safety nets where she was flipped over as she bumped downhill. In the absence of fans, screams were clearly audible.

After a break of 20 minutes while the Norwegian was strapped into a stretcher and then carried away by helicopter, racing resumed.

Schneeberger, skiing 21st, violently crashed into a gate at the top of the course. She was knocked off her feet and skidded down the slope and into the nets.

Again racing was interrupted as the emergency staff attended to the Austrian and a helicopter arrived to carry her away on a stretcher.

When racing resumed again, Jasmine Flury of Switzerland was yellow flagged neutralising her run because of an accident on the slope involving one of the course workers.

She had to return to the top of the slope to ski again. She recorded the 19th best time.