The first run of the Women’s World Cup giant slalom in Soldeu Andorra did not create a significant time differential. After the first seven racers had skied, only (0.67) separated the group. Notably, the woman who delivered the slowest time from the elite group was the season’s GS leader, Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami. The fastest of the group was Italian Marta Bassino.
The first racer to finish more than a second behind the leader was bib 9, Poland’s Maryna Gasienica-Daniel. After the first 20 racers had skied, 13 were within (0.88). At the end of the run,14 racers were within a second of Bassino. The tight time differential will create a dramatic second run.
Bassino, who has yet to earn a podium this season, was the first racer to be on the course. She delivered the quick splits in three of the four timing sectors to achieve the fastest first run. The Italian is known for attacking courses and skiing at the edge and beyond her limit. Today, she skied aggressively through the finish to obtain the leader’s chair and never relinquished its comfort.
Bassino has 20 World Cup GS podiums in her resume, six of which were victories. But this season, she has found the podium to be an unachievable outcome.
Stifel US Ski Team member Paula Moltzan was the first North American to ski. Moltzan was quick in the first two sectors and solid in the final two. After her initial run, Moltzan was the 13th fastest (+0.88). She is undoubtedly close enough to earn a podium with an exceptional second run.
Her younger teammate, AJ Hurt, once again showed that she is among the fastest women in the world. She was the 18th racer on the course but ended the morning in 6th (+0.42) behind Bassino. Hurt has been fast all season but has found it challenging to deliver her best skiing during both runs. She only has two World Cup slalom results this season, but one was a podium. Today, she could see her first trip to the steps in GS.
Canada’s Junior World Champion Britt Richardson also qualified for the second run. She ended the morning ranked 20th (+1.25). Her teammate Cassidy Gray qualified for her fourth final run of the season. Gray is ranked 29th (+2.01).
High bib success
Four women, including Gray, with start numbers above 30, could qualify for the afternoon finale. The fastest was bib 46 Sweden’s Estelle Alphand 22nd (+1.37) and she was also the last to do so. Twelve nations have women in the finale.
With the first run showcasing tight differentials and promising performances from various athletes, anticipation mounts for an exhilarating second run. As skiers prepare to tackle the challenging course once more, spectators eagerly await the unfolding drama of the afternoon finale.
Top 30 first-run results and analysis of the fastest three and North American among the top 30
Click on images to enlarge