ST. ANTON, Austria (AP) — Federica Brignone won a World Cup super-G on Saturday for the 2020 overall champion’s first victory this season in a race that American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin skipped.
Brignone mastered a course shortened because of heavy overnight snowfall and triumphed after her Italian teammate Sofia Goggia skied faster but went out following a nasty crash.
Goggia, the downhill standings leader, had just passed a checkpoint halfway through her wild run down the Karl Schranz course and led Brignone by 0.44 seconds when her left ski seemed to hit a patch of soft snow.
She tried to regain balance but fell sideways with her right ski high up in the air and slid off the course.
Brignone, sitting in the leader’s chair in the finish area after her near-flawless run, buried her face in both hands when she witnessed Goggia’s crash on a monitor, but then saw how her teammate got up immediately and skied down to the finish.
With the start of the world championships in France just over three weeks away, Goggia seemed unhurt.
Last month, the Olympic downhill champion broke two bones in her left hand at a race in St. Moritz but returned the next day to win a downhill at the Swiss resort.
Two years ago, Goggia had to sit out her home world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo after picking up a knee injury in an out-of-competition accident.
Brignone finished 0.54 ahead of Joana Hählen, the 30-year-old Swiss who tied her career-best result.
Olympic champion Lara Gut-Behrami was third, trailing 0.66 behind Brignone.
Valérie of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was the top Canadian in 23rd following her giant slalom victory in Slovenia a week earlier.
Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., placed 26th.
Shiffrin chose to sit out this weekend’s speed races after completing a block of seven tech races within 15 days. The American is expected back for Friday's super-G in Cortina, aiming for a record-setting 83rd women’s World Cup win to break the 82-win tie with Lindsey Vonn.
Shiffrin maintained her 399-point lead over her closest challenger in the overall standings, Petra Vlhová, who also didn’t race.
Brignone’s eighth career super-G victory marked her Italian record 21st World Cup win across all disciplines, breaking the tie she had with Goggia coming into the race.
“I am really satisfied and proud of what I’ve been doing today on the slope,” Brignone said.
The Italian won the World Cup season title in super-G last season but was lacking a top-10 result in the discipline so far this campaign, though she finished runner-up to Shiffrin in a giant slalom last week.
“I started the season really bad in speed. With speed skis, I had no confidence,” the Italian said.
“But coming back in GS, like really having great confidence … it’s coming back now, I know that I can do what I want with my skis. I really want to push every single turn and that was where I made the difference here.”
Brignone’s win lifted her to fourth in the super-G discipline standings after just three races, including one won by Shiffrin last month at St. Moritz.
Due to excessive snowfall in recent days, both downhill trainings were cancelled, forcing organizers to change the scheduled downhill into a super-G, which can be held without a mandatory training run.
The start was then lowered as the upper part of the course still contained too much fresh snow to make a safe race possible.
Another super-G is scheduled Sunday on the Karl Schranz course.
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The Associated Press