Brignone wins stop-start fog-disrupted super-G as Gut-Behrami extends overall World Cup lead

Italy's Federica Brignone speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G race, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Sunday, March 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

Italy’s Federica Brignone speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women’s World Cup super-G race, in Kvitfjell, Norway, Sunday, March 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

KVITFJELL, Norway (AP) — Federica Brignone won a stop-start women’s World Cup super-G disrupted by fog on Sunday but Lara Gut-Behrami extended her lead in the discipline and overall standings.

Gut-Behrami was second in Kvitfjell, 0.61 seconds behind Brignone — who is third in the discipline standings and cut the gap to 74 points. But Gut-Behrami’s nearest challenger, Cornelia Huetter, could only finish seventh and slipped 69 points behind the Swiss skier, with one super-G race left.

“I’m happy about the way I skied,” said Gut-Behrami, who also won Saturday’s super-G. “Also in these conditions where it’s soft, I’m not usually the best skier in those conditions.”

Brignone also leapfrogged the absent Mikaela Shiffrin into second in the overall standings, 326 points behind Gut-Behrami.

It was a 25th World Cup win for Brignone, making her the most successful Italian female skier and moving her second overall, behind only Alberto Tomba who won 50 races.

“For sure not that bad numbers,” the 33-year-old said. “I’m really proud about my career and my entire life.”

The start of Sunday’s race had to be delayed for several minutes because of fog and was also halted four times due to the poor visibility. It was stopped for a fifth time and brought to an early end, with seven skiers still to race.

“For sure it’s a weird race, it was a hard day for all the girls,” Brignone said.

Brignone, who started 10th, arguably had some of the most difficult conditions but an impressive middle section through the worst of the fog saw the Italian finish almost a second faster than previous leader, Lauren Macuga of the United States.

The Italian then had an anxious wait to see not only how her rivals would fare but, as the race continued to be interrupted, if at least 30 skiers would be able to start so that the result could be ratified.

“I’m usually good when the start is moved or where there is some waiting and when there is no visibility. This I showed already this year,” Brignone said. “I was not seeing really good but I had everything in my mind and I was just focusing on my skiing and what I had to do.”

Czech skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecká was third — 0.79 behind Brignone — for her first podium in more than two years, after missing the whole of last season following a summer training crash.

“It’s a little bit difficult because you have to always warm up, then you cool down, then you wait, then you have to warm up again, because it’s starting again, then you cool down,” Ledecka said. “So I had a lot of workout today at the top.”

Shiffrin, who is now 385 points behind Gut-Behrami, is due to return next Saturday in Are, Sweden for a giant slalom and slalom. The American has a maximum six races left this season to chase a record-tying sixth career overall title.

Shiffrin was hurt in a Jan. 26 crash in a downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where she sprained ligaments in her knee.

Gut-Behrami won her first overall World Cup eight years ago and, should she go on to win this year, the span between titles would match that of Annemarie Moser-Pröll. The Austrian downhill great won her first overall title in 1971 and her record sixth in 1979.

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