Rebensburg edges Shiffrin for giant slalom win at Killington

AP
Rebensburg won her second straight World Cup giant slalom by edging American Shiffrin, the overall points leader who was skiing in the state where she attended school.
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Reuters

From left: Runner-up Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, winner Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, and Itay's Manuela Moelgg pose on the podium after the women's giant slalom race at the FIS alpine skiing World Cup at Killington Resort in Vermont on November 25, 2017.

Mikaela Shiffrin had a roaring crowd in her corner, possibly the biggest to watch a women's World Cup race.

But it was not enough to overcome Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg in a stirring duel on Saturday on Killington's aptly named Superstar trail in Vermont.

Rebensburg won her second straight World Cup giant slalom by edging Shiffrin, the overall points leader who was skiing in the state where she attended school.

The German finished two runs on Killington's Superstar trail in 1 minute, 57.63 seconds, with Shiffrin 0.67 back. Manuela Moelgg of Italy held on for third, 1.49 seconds off the lead.

The race took place before about 18,000 fans — organizers believe it the largest crowd for a women's World Cup race.

And what a race they saw. The second run turned into a showdown of star skiers, with the last four each taking over the top spot.

Moelgg had been third after the first run and went into the lead with a strong run. Then Shiffrin took her turn. She is a product of Burke Mountain Academy in northern Vermont and was greeted with thunderous cheers as she left the gate. The noise followed her all the way down the course. She had a great run and wound up 0.82 seconds ahead of Moelgg.

But the day belonged to Rebensburg, who had a superlative second run despite what she described as a big mistake at the top of the course. She said she was surprised she came out on top, and by the margin of victory.

"Sometimes when you make a mistake, you know you have to charge, to go 100 percent," Rebensburg said. "Sometimes mistakes can make you faster."

Still, Shiffrin was pleased with her progress in giant slalom since the opener in Soelden.

"This was a step in the right direction," she said, adding she felt more confident at Killington. She made a few adjustments to her equipment and her attitude.

"I felt like I made some good turns," she said.

Stephanie Brunner of Austria was fourth in 1:59.28 and Federica Brignone of Italy was fifth in 1:59.38. Tessa Worley of France — the giant slalom winner at Killington last season in the first World Cup race held at the resort — was sixth.

The sunshine that greeted the racers for the first run gave way to thick clouds as the second run progressed. It was spitting rain by the time the last skiers took to the course. The overcast made it difficult to see, what racers call flat light conditions.

The World Cup circuit returned to Killington and Vermont this year after a successful weekend of racing in 2016.

The day of racing began with a moment of silence for David Poisson, the French skier who was killed on November 13 while training in Canada.

Racing continues at Killington on Sunday (Monday China time) with the women's slalom. Shiffrin won the slalom at Killington last year.

AFP

Beat Feuz of Switzerland celebrates his victory in the downhill at the FIS World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, in Canada November 25, 2017.

At Lake Louise, Alberta,  reigning World Cup champion Beat Feuz again set the pace by winning the season-opening men's downhill on Saturday as the sport continued to mourn Poisson, who died in Alberta.

The 30-year-old Swiss sped down the course in a time of one minute 43.76 seconds to edge Austria's Matthias Mayer (1.43.85) by less than a tenth of a second.

The day, however, belonged to the memory of Poisson. Skiers wore heart-shaped stickers with his initials on their helmets and race bibs that bore his name.

It was particularly meaningful for the French racers, who competed with Poisson's name emblazoned across their chests. Adrien Theaux posted the French team's best result in seventh place.

But Feuz, who in February beat Canada's Erik Guay for the World Cup gold in St Moritz, once again set the standard.

"Beginning the season with a win is the best thing that can happen," Feuz said. "I had a great summer preparation, without any injuries and am very happy about how things turned out here, especially as I’m not performing very well here usually."

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal took third despite struggling with a knee that ended his last season prematurely.

"(The knee) is not awesome, but racing is racing," the 34-year-old said. "You don't get old in sports, it's more about injuries you have. In the end, there's just too much stuff that's not working the way it should."

Italy’s Peter Fill finished fourth (1:44.28) followed by another Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud (1:44.39).

The race schedule at Lake Louise will continue on Sunday with the super-G competition.


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