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Austria’s Schmidhofer wins Super-G with U.S.’ Shiffrin taking World Cup break

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Three-time World Cup Super-G winner this season, Mikaela Shiffrin took the week off to recharge and train while the rest of her fellow competitors headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, leaving the door open for a new face to grace the top of the Super-G podium. 

“It will be the first time this season that I’ve had a chance to really take a break,” Shiffrin said after winning the Super-G last week in Cortina d’Ampezzo. “My team as well. My coaches have been going non-stop since the beginning, so we’re going to take a short break, get back on the skis, get back on the slalom skis, get ready for Maribor and the World Championships.”

Shiffrin has said she does not intend to chase the Super-G title this year, but if she continues skiing the event the way she has all season, it may be her’s whether she meant to win it or not.

The U.S.’ Lindsey Vonn, who is chasing the all-time World Cup win record for a man or woman, was also absent from the startlist in Germany. Vonn made her return to the World Cup a week ago in Cortina. However, coming off a jump in Super-G training last week, Vonn felt a new pain surge in one of her knees, which hampered her for the rest of her comeback weekend. After being examined, Vonn said on Instagram she would be starting physical therapy to help lessen severe nerve pain in her knee and lower leg muscles.

For the women in attendance in GaPa, heavy snowfall ahead of competition made for a softer Super-G course at the start of the event. The speed of the course would pick up as the snow became increasingly compacted after each run. Coming out with the win was Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer. Schmidhofer, currently the downhill World Cup points leader, crossed the finish line .23 hundredths of a second ahead of Italy’s Sofia Goggia.

Full results are here.

Goggia, one of Vonn’s closest friends on the World Cup, made her return to racing this week after fracturing her right ankle before the opening giant slalom of the season back in October.

The U.S.’ Laurenne Ross posted her best Super-G result of the season in GaPa, finishing the day in 14th.

The men’s World Cup skiers competed in slalom today in Kitzbuehel. France’s Clement Noel held off overall World Cup points leader Marcel Hirscher to win his second slalom in as many weeks. Noel took the top slalom prize last week in Wengen. The back-to-back slalom victories are the first top finishes for the 21-year-old Frenchman. Joining Noel and Hirscher on the podium was France’s Alexis Pinturault

Full results are here

World Cup Alpine racing is set to continue tomorrow for both the men and women. On Sunday, the women will compete in the downhill starting at 5:30 a.m. ET. Watch live on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold. The women’s downhill will also air on NBCSN on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.

The men will finish their weekend in Kitzbuehel with the Super-G, starting at 7:30 a.m. ET. Watch the men race live on NBC Sports Gold.

Lindsey Vonn gets bad luck, Mikaela Shiffrin misses gate in super-G

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Neither Lindsey Vonn nor Mikaela Shiffrin made the podium, but Swiss Lara Gut notched her first victory Sunday since a major knee injury.

Gut, the 2016 World Cup overall champion who tore an ACL in February, topped a World Cup super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, by .14 over Italian Johanna Schnarf.

Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer was third. Full results are here.

Vonn dropped to sixth, .37 behind, dropped a couple of expletives in the finish corral and posted on social media afterward that she caught her strongest wind gust in more than 400 career starts.

“I’m not mad; I’m just a little bit frustrated,” Vonn said. “Sometimes this happens in ski racing where the races aren’t really fair. The wind comes. The light comes. The clouds come. But I tried my best. I’m happy with my skiing. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t very lucky today. Hopefully I can get some of this luck and take it with me to February [and the Olympics] and get some better conditions.”

Vonn placed second and first in downhills in Cortina on Friday and Saturday, confirming she’s a favorite to become the oldest female Olympic Alpine medalist next month.

Shiffrin was off her line early in Sunday’s run and eventually missed a gate, screaming out of frustration.

She is still cutting her teeth in the speed events of downhill and super-G and was third and seventh in the previous two races.

“The problem was with my [pre-race course] inspection, and I’m not exactly sure what we can do for me to be better prepared for super-Gs,” Shiffrin said, according to The Associated Press. “One of my biggest issues right now is still switching from the timing of downhill turns to super-G turns.”

Laurenne Ross became the sixth U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for the Olympic team thanks to a previous top-10. Ross, the second-best U.S. speed racer behind Vonn last season, came back from blowing out her right knee in a March 27 crash.

The World Cup moves to Kronplatz, Italy, on Tuesday for a giant slalom, where Shiffrin will be favored (full Alpine season broadcast schedule here).

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Italians sweep downhill on tough day for Lindsey Vonn, U.S.

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Sofia Goggia led an Italian podium sweep of a World Cup downhill, while Lindsey Vonn and the Americans all finished outside the top 10 on Sunday.

Goggia, 25, notched her first victory this season and since winning both races at the PyeongChang Olympic venue last March among 13 podiums total in the campaign.

She prevailed by 1.10 seconds over countrywoman Federica Brignone.

Nadia Fanchini was third on a tricky, shortened course in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria.

Laurenne Ross was the top American in 13th, with Vonn skiing conservatively for 27th place, 3.03 seconds slower than Goggia. Vonn waved off after finishing her run.

Full results are here.

“I knew it was going to be a struggle,” Vonn said. “Really poor visibility and pretty icy and bumpy conditions. … I really had no grip on the ice. Felt like I was skiing on marbles.

“This course takes a lot of aggression and really willing to risk everything. I’m just not willing to risk everything right now. I’ve been waiting eight years for the Olympics. I’m not necessarily disappointed in my result because it honestly doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that I’m healthy, and I didn’t end my season this weekend.”

Tough snow conditions dogged the venue all week, with one training run canceled and another shortened before racing started with a super-G on Saturday.

Another downhill training run was squeezed in hours before Sunday morning’s event.

Vonn didn’t commit to racing either day until seeing the course conditions. She was ninth in Saturday’s super-G, which marked her second-best result in eight races this season (one victory).

Ross’ 13th-place finish Sunday can be considered a bright spot.

The Sochi Olympian raced downhill, scared, for the first time since blowing out her right knee in a March 27 crash.

“These are the most difficult conditions I’ve skied in since I’ve been injured,” Ross said. “I definitely had a lot of doubt and fear an anxiety. … It didn’t feel good, but I suppose nobody’s run felt that great.”

The World Cup moves to Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, next weekend, with Vonn and World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin headlining.

They are the final races before the full U.S. Olympic Alpine team will be named.

Vonn, Shiffrin, Resi Stiegler and Megan McJames have already qualified for the team.

The big-name question mark is Julia Mancuso, who has raced twice since March 2015 due to hip problems, finishing 42nd and 45th in December super-Gs.

Mancuso, 33, is the most decorated U.S. female Olympic skier with four medals.

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MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin’s dominance rarely seen in sports, let alone skiing

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