Brem clinches giant slalom title for 1st World Cup trophy
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — Eva-Maria Brem of Austria clinched the women’s giant slalom title by the slenderest of margins at the World Cup finals on Sunday for her first-ever crystal globe.
Brem needed to finish fourth to win the title and did just that, edging Marie-Michele Gagnon into fifth by 0.04 seconds to secure the trophy by only two points.
“It feels perfect for me. That was my goal,” said Brem, who was runner-up last year. “In January I had the feeling it had fallen away from me and I cannot grab it anymore but then I started to work on myself. In the end I was a little bit lucky today but it’s deserved after the close races in the past where I wasn’t lucky.”
Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, the only woman who could surpass Brem in the standings, finished first and faced an anxious wait to see what her rival would do.
Brem crossed the line and looked nervously at the clock before putting her head in her hands. Rebensburg was the first to congratulate her.
“She was saying well deserved and I was telling her that she put me under pressure and then we were laughing,” Brem said. “It was a really cool fight and Viktoria would have deserved it too. It was a really respectful battle too though and that’s how it should be.”
Rebensburg had won the giant slalom globe twice before, in 2011 and 2012.
“I said before the race that my only chance was to win and that’s what I did so I can’t complain about my performance,” Rebensburg said. “She deserved to win the globe, she was constant over the whole season.”
Taina Barioz was second on the day, 0.46 behind Rebensburg. Overall champion Lara Gut was third, 0.75 off the pace.
Gut effectively sealed the first overall title for a Swiss woman in 21 years last weekend at nearby Lenzerheide. Lindsey Vonn, who led before her crash in a super-G in Andorra last month, finished second, with Rebensburg third overall.
“It’s heavy,” said Gut after getting her hands on the globe. “It’s cool but I think it’s going to take me a little more time to realize what’s happened.
“I have some friends who’ve won it, Anna (Fenninger) and Tina (Maze), and I was talking with them about the feelings and they said sometimes it takes you a season to realize, sometime weeks.”
Gut also finished third in the giant slalom standings.
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States crashed on the opening run, while leading after the first split.
Brem was fastest in the opening run, 0.06 ahead of Barioz and 0.20 ahead of Gut. Rebensburg was 0.66 seconds slower.
Slalom specialist Shiffrin had the fastest time at the start, 0.76 ahead of Brem and 0.19 quicker than Gut, but spun out on a turn and slid down the course.
The 21-year-old Shiffrin, who missed two months off the season following a training crash in Sweden, was not injured.
“I tried to risk a little bit because in order to win GS races you have to risk, not necessarily go crazy but take some risk and push the line and push the gates so I tried to do that,” Shiffrin told The Associated Press. “It was actually funny because the one gate that I fell on was the one gate that I kind of went back to my skiing where I’m a little tentative and I dive in too soon.
“So I was like, ’Yup, just keep moving in this direction because you’re going to be better and faster and safer ... I felt really good but it was almost like I was going faster than I expected because I haven’t ever really skied that fast before and until I really get used to that I’m going to be a little bit iffy.”