Gut-Behrami replaces Shiffrin as leader of the World Cup
The organisation of the Soldeu competitions has once again demonstrated its ability to be able to handle difficult weather conditions
The American AJ Hurt gets onto her very first GS podium on the Avet course
The victory in the Giant Slalom that was disputed this Saturday in the Soldeu sector in the Grandvalira ski area gives the Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami 100 points more points. This means her new tally wrestles the lead in the Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup from the American Mikaela Shiffrin, the notable absentee from the Andorran competition. Gut-Behrami, despite being in ninth place after the first run and also making a mistake in the final section on the second run, was the fastest with a time of 1:59.27. In second place, just one hundredth of a second behind the Swiss racer, was the New Zealand racer Alice Robinson, and the bronze was taken by Amelia Josephine Hurt (USA), who was the surprise of the day, getting the first GS podium placing of her sporting career.
Gut-Behrami was very happy, although she acknowledged that "it was not an easy day for me, because on the first run I didn’t quite manage to have the right feeling", and that is why on my second descent "I tried to be very aggressive." The Swiss racer said that “it is always a pleasure to compete in Soldeu” and she reminded us that it was here that she won her first and only European Cup Giant Slalom. “I always like to come back here, because the GS layout on the Avet course is one of my favourites,” she said.
With this new victory, the Swiss racer consolidates the first position in the Giant Slalom discipline. The first positions in the ranking for the GS have not changed, so the Italian racer Federica Brignone, who came in fourth on the Avet course, remains in second place. The Swedish racer Sara Hector, who finished down in ninth spot today, keeps the third position in the ranking.
The ski station demonstrates its resilience
The team that is responsible for the World Cup races in Soldeu once again demonstrated its ability to react extremely proficiently to challenging weather conditions. In fact, this Saturday’s competition was able to take place despite snowfall during the night, which left about 10 centimetres of fresh snow. This situation forced some 150 people, comprising of members of the technical teams and volunteers, to work tirelessly from the early hours of the morning to remove this fresh snow, thus ensuring the quality of the course. In this way, despite the extra effort that the snowfall brought, Soldeu has been able to present an image to the world of a winter landscape, something that hadn’t been visible for weeks.
The Secretary-General for the competition, Marc Mitjana, expressed his enormous satisfaction and the feeling of a job well done, whilst also highlighting the resilience of the team. He also recalled that “this makes three years now that the weather has made things very difficult and three years where we’ve made it happen,” referring to the last few times over recent years that Soldeu has hosted high-level international competitions.”
Commemoration of the ski station’s 60th anniversary
After the first run, the 60th anniversary of the Soldeu El Tarter ski station was commemorated, using the occasion to honour the people that have had a prominent role in the history of the ski station. The event was also attended by officials from the country and also from the local parish, including the Mayor of Canillo, Jordi Alcobé. He stressed that this commemoration was to celebrate its success and to recognise the pioneers and all the people who have worked for Soldeu. Alcobé recalled that “today there are two testimonies to these origins: the Avet course, which still remains and we hope that that’s the case for many years to come, and the dream that the team that is at the head of the station keeps very much alive, which is impressively solid and competitive.”
Furthermore, before the race began, a tribute was also paid to one of the most historic volunteers, Jordi Argemí, who passed away last summer at the age of 91. With his family in attendance, a memorial video was screened and the entertainment area of the foot of the Avet slope was named after him.
Second day of competition
Once the Giant Slalom competition was completed, the organisation already began the preparations for the SL that will be disputed this Sunday on the same Avet course at 10:30h (first run) and at 13:30h (second run). With the top two skiers in the rankings being absent, Mikaela Shiffrin and Petra Vlhová, the favourites are Germany’s Lena Duerr, Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin and Sweden’s Sara Hector.
Also, Andorra will be represented at that event in the shape of Carla Mijares, who will be competing in the second World Cup Slalom event of her career.