Dhe exceptional American ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin has come back impressively after her Olympic debacle. The 26-year-old finished second at the Super-G in Lenzerheide on Saturday behind Romane Miradoli from France, who surprisingly celebrated her first World Cup victory. It was Shiffrin’s first start since the Winter Olympics in China, where she was eliminated in three of six races and ended up without a single medal. Third place went to Olympic champion Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland. The only German starter, Kira Weidle, achieved her first ever top ten result in this discipline in seventh place.
“Kira did really well – especially after this history,” said women’s national coach Jürgen Graller of the German Press Agency (dpa). “She surprised us and herself in a positive way. Hats off.” Weidle had a bad fall during training in Crans-Montana a week ago and still has neck pain. Nevertheless, she now qualified in the Super-G for the season finale of the best 25 athletes.
The noticeably relieved Shiffrin received the greatest applause from the spectators, including the Swiss tennis star Roger Federer. With her best Super-G result of the season so far, she took the sole lead in the overall World Cup ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who only finished 18th this time – even though Vlhova’s coach Mauro Pini had set the course. Several top riders struggled on the demanding course or dropped out like Olympic silver medalist Mirjam Puchner from Austria. Federica Brignone from Italy secured the overall Super-G victory prematurely in ninth place.
DSV men drive behind
For the German men, Josef Ferstl provided the ray of hope this time, Andreas Sander experienced the next big disappointment. The majority of German ski racers were also far behind on the second descent in Kvitfjell, Norway. Ferstl was by far the best German in tenth place when South Tyrolean Dominik Paris won on Saturday and thus qualified for the season finale of the 25 best athletes in this discipline in mid-March in Courchevel, France. Romed Baumann and Dominik Schwaiger, who were only 17th and 40th this time, are also allowed to start there in the downhill.
World Cup runner-up Andreas Sander, who finished 33rd, only has to watch. Just like Simon Jocher, who came in 38th this time after a strong seventh place on Friday.
Ferstl saw his third top ten placement this winter as a “step forward”. He wanted to “fight, fight and hang everything in,” said the 33-year-old. In some cases he was “very, very successful”, in some passages he was missing “the last bit of conviction”.
The other Germans lacked significantly more. In the end, Baumann was almost two seconds behind winner Paris. The 36-year-old could hardly explain where he had lost it. “So far it’s a weekend to forget,” said Schwaiger, who, like Sander, who had been struggling in the World Cup for weeks, was further behind. Second was the local hero Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who was the leader in the overall downhill classification, ahead of the previous day’s Swiss winner, Niels Hintermann.
Jansrud breaks up
The Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud ended his career, in which he won a total of five Olympic medals (including gold in the Super-G 2014 in Sochi), as 52nd and with great emotions. The 36-year-old dropped to his knees and kissed the snow in the finish area. Then his teammates took him on their shoulders – cheered on by the spectators and a number of other drivers. Jansrud announced before the race that it would be the last of his career. After a violent fall in Beaver Creek (USA) in early December, in which he severely injured his knee, the season seemed to be over for the veteran. At the winter games in China, however, he surprisingly returned and came 23rd in the Super-G. It was Jansrud’s fifth Olympic participation after 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.
At the end of the day in Kvitfjell there is a super-G on Sunday.