Lindsey Vonn‘s quest for a fifth World Cup overall title this season became much trickier this weekend.
Vonn ceded her standings lead to Swiss Lara Gut after the American finished 13th in a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, on Sunday.
Gut tied for second in the giant slalom after winning both a super combined Friday (Vonn was second, .01 behind) and a downhill Saturday (Vonn failed to finish) in Val d’Isere, France. Austrian Eva-Maria Brem prevailed in Sunday’s race (results here).
Vonn felt the after-effects of nearly crashing Saturday.
“I’ve just been trying to recover and trying to get ready for today,” Vonn told media in Courchevel. “I didn’t really feel very balanced today. I think I rung my bell a little bit yesterday.”
Gut now leads the World Cup overall standings by 58 points over Vonn through 12 of a scheduled 41 races.
Gut, the 2014 Olympic downhill bronze medalist and one of only two women’s Alpine medalists from Sochi currently racing, made up 180 points on Vonn in three races this weekend.
Vonn entered the three French races with a 122-point cushion on Gut and riding a four-race winning streak.
Vonn seeks to become the oldest World Cup overall champion and to take the title for the first time since before her two major knee surgeries that knocked her out of the Sochi Olympics.
Gut could well be the World Cup overall leader going into 2016, with next week’s two races being a giant slalom and slalom — Vonn’s two worst disciplines (though Gut is more of a speed racer, too).
“I just need a break,” Vonn said, adding that she would prepare for the next race in Lienz, Austria, on Dec. 28. “I think after yesterday I’m just really sore. I’m actually, physically, need a break.”
Vonn’s path to the World Cup overall crown — the biggest prize this season with no Olympics or World Championships — appeared clear after significant knee injuries to Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin, who were first and fourth in last season’s standings.
Tina Maze, second in last season’s standings ahead of Vonn, is sitting this season out and may never compete again.
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