Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon finishes third in World Cup super-G

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon captured bronze to win her first medal in nearly five years, while Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami won her third straight World Cup super-G on Saturday, 10 days before the world championship race in the discipline.

Gut-Behrami confirmed her dominance with another clear victory, a week after she won her home race in Crans Montana by 0.93 seconds.

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On Saturday, Kajsa Vickhoff Lie trailed by 0.68 in second for the Norwegian's first career podium result, Gagnon came 0.93 behind in third.

The 31-year-old Gagnon, from Lac-Etchemin, Que., bumped Sofia Goggia off the podium. The Italian, who is on a four-race winning streak in downhill, finished fourth, ahead of Austria’s Christine Scheyer and Olympic super-G champion Ester Ledecka.

It was Gagnon's fifth career World Cup medal and first since a win in a super combined event at Soldeu, Andorra in February 2016.

Overall leader Petra Vlhova finished 10th, and the Slovakian skier saw her advantage over Gut-Behrami in the season standings reduced to 62 points.

"A few months ago, people asked me if I was still able to win a race at all. Now people start talking about the (overall) World Cup. It shows how fast things can change in sport," said Gut-Behrami, who had not won a race between 2018 and 2020.

"For me it's important that I keep my level of skiing, that I can be fast like today and enjoy it."

Gut-Behrami was seven-hundredths of a second behind Lie at the first split but charged down the Kandahar course, sticking to the ideal race line in a clean run.

Saturday’s win was the 29th in Gut-Behrami’s career and 15th in super-G. Only Lindsey Vonn (28), Renate Götschl (17) and Katja Seizinger (16) have won more races in the discipline.

Gut-Behrami previously won three consecutive World Cup super-G events in the 2016-17 season, when she was the defending overall champion.

She has won silver and bronze in super-G at previous world championships but is lacking a gold medal.

Gut-Behrami was reluctant to read too much into her current winning streak and referred to the bigger picture of her World Cup career, which includes a first super-G win in 2008.

"After 13 years I’m still able to win. Even though I didn’t win every season I was racing, I was almost in the position to have a chance to win," she said. "I think this is the biggest achievement you can have in your career, that you can try to win every time you are in the start."

Several racers were sitting out the races in Germany in order to prepare for the worlds in Italy, most notably Mikaela Shiffrin and Michelle Gisin.

Shiffrin, who won the super-G world title in 2019, has not competed in a speed race for over a year. She had a 10-month break from racing in 2020 and only just resumed training in super-G.

The race was initially scheduled as a downhill, but bad weather wiped out both training sessions this week. A downhill race can only take place after the athletes had at least one training run on the course.

Another super-G had already been scheduled for Sunday, the last women’s World Cup event before the Feb. 8-21 world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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