MERIBEL, France (AP) — Italian skier Federica Brignone posted the fastest time in the super-G portion of the women’s combined event Monday on the opening day of the world championships, leading defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin by almost a second.
Racing under blue skies, Brignone found the fastest line on the Roc de Fer course as she built a lead of 0.71 seconds over Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, who clocked the same time.
Italian teammate Elena Curtoni was 0.78 seconds behind in fourth.
The combined event adds the results of a super-G run and one slalom run.
Shiffrin posted the sixth fastest time and had 0.96 seconds to make up on Brignone in the slalom portion, the American’s strongest discipline.
“I know Federica doesn’t ski a lot of slalom, but I know that when she skies it, she can be very fast. So, I am not sure if I can actually make up nine-tenths on that,” Shiffrin said. “The ones who win a medal are the ones who have a pretty solid run in both events or a really killer run in at least one event. I think I can do a very good run of slalom, so now I just focus on that.”
Shiffrin was competing in her first major event since failing to win a medal in six starts at last year’s Beijing Olympics.
“I am pretty satisfied with my first run. I felt pretty good with my skiing,” Shiffrin said. “Obviously there are some section where I can ski much faster.”
Shiffrin has won six world titles and 11 medals in total from 13 previous starts at world championships.
Swiss skiers Michelle Gisin, who is the Olympic champion, and two-time world champion Wendy Holdener finished more than 1.5 seconds off the lead outside the top 10.
Petra Vlhova, the silver medalist from 2019 and 2021, sat out the race to focus on her core events of giant slalom and slalom. The 2021 overall World Cup champion from Slovakia has struggled with health issues in recent weeks.
Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was 1.92 behind, but the Italian speed specialist used the run as a test for Wednesday’s super-G race. Several other speed specialists will skip the slalom part as well, including two-time world downhill champion llka Stuhec of Slovenia.
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