19-20 January 2019
Olympia delle Tofane - Cortina d'Ampezzo

A spectacular and emotional one hundredth World Cup competition in Cortina

Goggia bows to Vonn after her last race. Shiffrin takes the baton from her captain

 

Date: 20/01/2019 from 1430
Place: Cortina d'Ampezzo

(by Max Vergani)

The ladies’ race on Olympia writes a new page in the sport’s history

Sofia Goggia bowed to Lindsey Vonn as the US champion, who went out midway down the course, crossed the finish line, and handed her a bouquet of flowers. Then the two athletes, who shared the victories last year, hugged emotionally. It was the last race in Cortina for the American superstar who has enjoyed twenty podium wins on Olympia and twelve victories. Sofia Goggia paid tribute to this extraordinary champion: "I’m thrilled to be here at the foot of Olympia, I hadn’t planned to. But this morning I woke up at 6.30 and decided that I couldn’t miss Lindsey Vonn’s last race on Olympia. I think I must have broken all the speed limits because I got here so quickly. I love her, and I wanted to be a part of that World Cup magic. Next week I’m going to test my foot out in the training runs in Garmisch and we’ll see how it goes. I live very much in the here and now however".

Goggia became emotional as she spoke of her idol: "She was crying at the finish, Cortina is her favourite course. We don’t really appreciate just how great a sporting icon Lindsey Vonn is, she has won 82 World Cup races and we have had the honour of competing with such a skiing legend. It’s something we can tell our children in fifty years. I still see her as I did when I was a little girl admiring her on television, even though last year we battled it out in the World Cup together and I grabbed overall victory in the downhill from out under her in the last race. I saw the pictures of Cortina’s tribute and heard how emotional she was. I really miss skiing, putting my bib on, feeling my ski on the turn, feeling its core, waiting at the starting gate. But to do all this I have to be sure I am in good shape".

The race – the hundredth in Cortina’s World Cup history – witnessed a truly phenomenal passage of the torch. On the day of Lindsey Vonn’s last race in Cortina, and as the US champion wiped the tears from her eyes, Mikaela Shiffrin, her extraordinary heir, triumphed on Olympia. They may be two completely different athletes, but they have the most important thing in common: victory. As Vonn bid a fond farewell to her public, Shiffrin counted her wins, which now total 54, the same as Herrmann Maier and just one behind Vreni Schneider. Mikaela is 23 and looks set to beat her captain’s record.

Today the overall leader put on a perfect show in the super G: she kept damage to a minimum in the initial flat section, which suits more powerful athletes, but really made the difference in the turns, thanks to her slalom and giant slalom skills. Her elegant, flawless performance dashed Tina Weirather’s hopes of her first victory this season; Tina raced before her and put on an outstanding performance on the tough course set by Lindsey Vonn’s coach. It was so difficult it led Vonn herself to commit an error, even though she appeared to be much improved. Tamara Tippler joined her on the podium, almost three years since the last time, finishing just 18 hundredths behind Shiffrin.

The fastest Italian was Federica Brignone, who came eleventh, 85 hundredths off the pace: as usual, she was practically perfect in the technical section but lost precious time in the final part of the course where you really need to let your skis run. Elena Curtoni did better than she has been doing, coming close to her best result this season with her 14th place, 1"22 behind the winner. Francesca Marsaglia made a minor error in the central section but paid the price, finishing 17th. Nadia Fanchini (27th) was also in the points, while Marta Bassino and first-timer Nadia Delago, 32nd at 2"25, just missed out. Her elder sister Nicol, on the other hand, went wrong in the same spot where she went out in Friday’s downhill and did not finish, like Anna Hofer and Federica Sosio.

With Shiffrin increasing her lead over Tina Weirather in the super G rankings (300 points against 236) and streaking ahead in the general rankings (1494 against Petra Vlhova’s 898 and Wendy Holdener’s 637), the World Cup will be back next weekend with another classic venue, Garmisch, with the downhill on Saturday 26 and the super G on Sunday 27.

 

Quotes:

 

Lindsey Vonn: "Last night in town was so special, such kind words from the people of Cortina. I didn’t expect it, it’s more than just about the skiing. It means so much to me and I am still a bit overcome with emotion. I congratulated Mikaela. It’s awesome that there’s another American on the top spot of the podium. As far as I’m concerned, I have dealt with lots of injuries in my career but now my body probably can’t react as well as it did in the past".

 

Mikaela Shiffrin: "It’s been an incredible day. It was very cold this morning but then the sun came out and it was lovely. As usual, I tried to push as hard as I could on my skis and the result was fantastic, even if there were only a couple of hundredths between me and Tina, who came second. You’ve got to be very careful on this course and push as hard as you can all the time. The scenery is beautiful, it’s always so sunny here".

 

Elena Curtoni: "I got my line before Rumerlo a bit wrong, I went a bit wide. I’m gradually getting back in shape, in training I already am, I just have to replicate that in competition. I’m making progress, now I need to make it happen, to see the smiles as I cross the finish line and see that I can do it. I know I can, but it’s easier to accept when you have a result".

 

Federica Brignone: "I’m not really happy with my performance. It was one of those super Gs that leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth, one of those where you either ski perfectly or you just want to go back up and have another try. It was a rather anonymous course. There was room between the gates, the whole technical section was really very easy except for one gate where Stuhec and other skiers went out: there was that long curve, where if you want to get through it you have to slow down, I think I skied quite well in the technical part, it all came easy to me. But it’s one of those super Gs that seems easy but that’s only because you aren’t going fast enough. The snow was aggressive from Scarpadon to Rumerlo, the kind of snow that it’s hard to get a grip on and you don’t really know what’s going on. I almost spun around there before Rumerlo, where Nicol Delago went out, and I lost all my speed for the final section where I lost loads of time as usual. It all depends how much speed you build up from Scarpadon to Rumerlo, it had gone really well up until Scarpadon, then there was that spin and I was very slow at Rumerlo and my jump was almost non-existent".

  
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