By Manuele Lang
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (Reuters) - Lara Gut refused to bow to returning speed queen Lindsey Vonn, upstaging the American to win the women’s Super-G in Lake Louise for the second year in succession on Sunday.
Vonn had stunned the alpine skiing world a day earlier by clinching her 60th World Cup victory in only her second event back from a year’s injury break but she had to settle for second this time behind the 23-year-old Swiss.
“What Lindsey did was truly phenomenal. I know what it’s like to celebrate your first win after a long injury,” said Gut, who missed the 2010 season and the Vancouver Olympics after a hip operation.
“But I’m also very proud to have beaten her on her favorite terrain,” she added.
While impressive again on a course where she has collected 15 titles, Vonn, the four-times winner of the overall World Cup big globe, could not match Gut’s flawless performance, finishing 0.37 seconds behind her.
"I felt like I was skiing aggressively and was pretty clean on the top," Vonn told reporters. "But my timing wasn’t quite right. I was late on some turns."
Arguably the most gifted skier from the new generation along with World Cup champion Anna Fenninger of Austria who was eighth on Sunday, Gut claimed her career’s 11th win in one minute and 18.46 seconds.
With Slovenia’s Tina Maze, winner of Friday’s downhill, in third 0.81 seconds adrift, the season promises to be an exciting battle with the world championships upcoming in Vail and Beaver Creek in February.
The men were in Beaver Creek for a giant slalom and Ted Ligety did not miss a chance to collect first laurels of the season in his favorite discipline.
Hampered by a wrist injury, the American world and Olympic champion struggled a bit in the morning before fighting back in the afternoon with a combined time of two minutes and 34.07 seconds.
France’s Alexis Pinturault was second, 0.18 seconds adrift and World Cup holder Marcel Hirscher of Austria finished third.
It was the American’s 24th World Cup victory, his 23rd in a giant slalom.
World Cup leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway placed 15th but will take a 172- point lead over Hirscher to Europe next week for a World Cup weekend in Sweden.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)