Home win for Gut as Vonn falters in St Moritz

Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:58am EST
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ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Lindsey Vonn had 'I'm the best' written on her bib but a big mistake wrecked her hopes of adding a 64th World Cup victory to her record tally in a downhill won by Switzerland's Lara Gut on Saturday.

The American, who became the most successful woman skier of all time last weekend, lost her line at the start of the lower section and narrowly avoided crashing to finish 2.08 seconds off the pace. "It’s unusual for me to finish 23rd but things like this happen from time to time and I knew it would be hard for me to stay in contention after such a mistake," she said.

Gut continued her love affair with St Moritz by winning her first downhill of the season on home snow in a time of one minute and 43.82 seconds.

The 23-year-old made her Swiss team debut in a European Cup race in St Moritz at the age of 15, earned her first World Cup podium in the smart Swiss resort two years later and clinched her first World Cup win, a Super-G, on the same course in 2008. "It’s always special in St Moritz. I came here since I was a kid and it’s always very emotional to win here," she said. "Everybody was talking about me but I hadn’t been on the podium here for five years. Now it’s a great boost to go to the world championships in such shape,” she said.

The world championships start in Beaver Creek, Colorado, next month.

Winner of a Super-G in Lake Louise earlier this season, Gut collected her 12th World Cup success ahead of overall World Cup defending champion Anna Fenninger of Austria, who missed her second victory of the winter by 0.32 seconds. In third place, Edit Miklos became the first Hungarian skier on a World Cup podium, 0.58 behind Gut.

Born in Romania 26 years ago, Miklos already made an impression at the 2014 Sochi Olympics when she finished seventh in the downhill ahead of the Austrian skiers with whom she trains.

"It might be a surprise but I’ve been close in the past, finishing fifth in Crans-Montana and also in Sochi. I skied well and I’m not sure my bib number made a difference,” said Miklos, who started early in better wind conditions. Overall World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia made too many mistakes to be in contention and finished 18th, 1.74 adrift.

(Reporting by Manuele Lang. Writing by Francois Thomazeau, editing by Alan Baldwin)

Lara Gut of Switzerland competes during the women's Alpine Skiing World Cup downhill race in St Moritz January 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay