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On Jan. 26 the best women technical skiers in the world descended on Kronplatz, Italy, for the sixth and final World Cup giant slalom event before they go head to head in the FIS World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, beginning Feb. 8.
France’s Tessa Worley, a World Cup veteran with the most GS podiums amongst active racers, claimed her first victory since 2018 after posting an impressive second run that catapulted her from fifth place to take the win. Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, fresh off her super-G victory and second-place downhill finish in Crans Montana, finished just 0.27 seconds off Worley’s time to take second. Italy’s Marta Bassino, who started Tuesday’s GS in Kronplatz wearing the red leader bib in the discipline, rounded out the podium in third.
WATCH: Tessa Worley’s Winning Run, Kronplatz GS
“I’m just so so happy,” Worley said after the race. “A part of me was saying ‘Yes, you have it in you, you can still [win].’ And another part of me was saying, ‘Maybe you’re over it…’ I knew today was going to be a big fight, and I just wanted to take risks and see how it would go. I never thought about winning, I just thought about skiing my best and putting everything on the slope.”
Worley’s mantra is one that will sound familiar to American Mikaela Shiffrin, who constantly reinforces that she doesn’t ski to win, but simply to make consistently good turns. But Shiffrin struggled to find that consistency in Kronplatz.
Shiffrin skied a fluid first run and sat in second place heading into the second run. But just like in the past two races, Shiffrin struggled to follow up with a strong second run performance. A few tricky compressions and bumps in the lower section of the course threw her off her line and cost her valuable time. She crossed the finish line 1.08 seconds behind Worley’s combined time.
“Congrats to Tessa, Lara, and Marta for putting on an impressive show. It’s a tough hill, so kudos to the girls who threw down,” Shiffrin told U.S. Ski and Snowboard after the race. “I felt like I made a few good turns both runs and my giant slalom is moving in the right direction, but it was a tough, bumpy, and dark second run. I’m really looking forward to getting another good training block in prior to World Champs at Cortina d’Ampezzo—which is one of my favorite venues on the Tour.”
"I felt like I made a few good turns both runs and my giant slalom is moving in the right direction, but it was a tough, bumpy, and dark second run."
Shiffrin wasn’t the only one who struggled with consistency on the Kronplatz track. The tight and technical course set by France’s Jean-Noel Martin proved to be one of the more challenging giant slaloms on the women’s Tour this season, and it tested both World Cup newcomers and veterans alike. This was evident in the significant shake-up between the first and second run results.
Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin, who podiumed in the last two GS events in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, found herself in first place after putting down the fastest time in the first run. Like Shiffrin, however, Gisin was thrown by the lower section of the course in her second run and made errors that cost her significant time. She crossed the finish with the 27th fastest time in the second run, and her combined time moved her from first down to sixth overall.
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the current overall World Cup leader and always a podium contender in giant slalom, also struggled to put down two, clean runs on this course. Vlhova slotted into 9th place after the first run, but finished her second run with the 18th fastest time, which moved her down to 12th place overall.
Americans Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien skied impressive first runs. Moltzan, who started far back in the field with bib 47, managed to ski her way up to 15th place in the first run. But she too was thrown by the course in the second run and did not finish. O’Brien, who sat in 21st after the first run, managed to hang on in the second run to ultimately finish 25th and score World Cup points.
Heading into the FIS World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italian Marta Bassino still leads the women’s giant slalom standings with 460 points. Worley now moves into second with 336 points, just ahead of Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin in third with 312 points. Shiffrin now sits in fifth place with 280 points, right behind Italy’s Federica Brignone in fourth with 282 points.
Petra Vlhova still retains her lead in the overall standings with 883 points. Gisin is ranked second with 783 points. Thanks to three podiums in as many races across three disciplines, Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami now moves into third place with 747 points. Despite not competing in the speed events this season, Shiffrin ranks sixth in the overall standings with 615 points.
From Kronsplatz the women’s World Cup makes one more stop in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, for the final speed events of the Tour. The women will start in the final downhill on Saturday, Jan. 30 and final super-G on Sunday, Jan. 31. The World Championships then kick off in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Feb. 8.