More World Cup races canceled, good for Vlhova, Pinturault

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) — More ski races were canceled Thursday because of bad weather, leaving Petra Vlhova as the favorite to win her first overall World Cup title ahead of Lara Gut-Behrami.

The super-G races for women and men at the World Cup Finals were called off one day after the last downhills of the season also could not start on the Silvano Beltrametti slope.

With no reserve days on the program, Vlhova and Alexis Pinturault closed in on winning the overall titles ahead of their preferred slalom and giant slalom races this weekend.

The women’s super-G was first delayed by 90 minutes to let fog clear and for race staff to remove fresh snow, then canceled soon after 11 a.m.

Thursday’s cancellations hurt Gut-Behrami’s chances of catching Vlhova in the overall standings. The Swiss skier won four straight World Cup super-Gs to secure the discipline title this season.

“The overall has never been something realistic to me (this season),” said Gut-Behrami, the overall champion in 2016. “I think I didn’t get it but I’m happy with the way I’m skiing, this is more important.”

Vlhova needs only one top-15 finish in her final two races to win the giant crystal globe as overall champion. She would be the first Slovakian champion in the 54-year World Cup history.

“She has just a lot of pressure on her shoulders,” Gut-Behrami said of Vlhova. “I just respect the way she is skiing and the way she is handling everything.”

Pinturault’s lead is only 31 points over Marco Odermatt, the breakout star of the men’s season who was a contender in the super-G race. Wins are worth 100 points.

Odermatt was the runner-up in the super-G standings behind Vincent Kriechmayr, who was confirmed as the champion on Thursday. The Austrian racer added his first career crystal globe to gold medals in both speed events at last month’s world championships.

The finals week continues Friday with the nations team event in parallel racing, a little-loved event that some believe should have been replaced with rescheduled downhills.


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