SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, Italy — First-run leader Michelle Gisin nearly came to a complete stop. American standout Mikaela Shiffrin had a series of uncharacteristic bobbles. And defending overall champion Federica Brignone was wild from start to finish.
French veteran Tessa Worley took advantage of errors from the early leaders to win a World Cup giant slalom Tuesday on the challenging and steep Erta course.
Moving up from fifth after the opening leg, Worley finished 0.27 seconds ahead of Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.73 ahead of Marta Bassino, this season’s giant slalom leader.
Worley had a flawless second run and was pushing the entire way.
“This place is incredible and very challenging, a beautiful GS for women,” Worley said. “The second run I really gave everything. It was dark, it was bumpy, it was great.”
Worley matched Anita Wachter, Lise-Marie Morerod, Tina Maze and Viktoria Rebensburg with 14 career GS wins for third place all time. Swiss great Vreni Schneider holds the record with 20 GS wins, followed by Annemarie Moser-Pröll with 16.
Worley also claimed world championship gold medals in GS in 2013 and 2017, but her previous World Cup victory came back in 2018 at the season opener in Soelden.
It was already going to be a special day for Worley with longtime boyfriend Julien Lizeroux skiing in the final World Cup race of his career in Schladming, Austria.
Shiffrin dropped from second to fourth, a distant 1.08 behind Worley, while Gisin came sixth despite holding more than a half-second lead over Shiffrin in the first run.
Likewise, Brignone fell from third to eighth and finished one spot behind Italian teammate Sofia Goggia, the speed specialist who swept two downhills last weekend.
Overall leader Petra Vlhová struggled in both runs and finished 12th. Still, Vlhová holds a 100-point lead over Gisin in the overall standings.
The second run was made more difficult by a contrast in light, with the top half of the course bathed in sunshine and the steeper bottom part in the shade and much darker.
No spectators were allowed at the race because of a nationwide ban on attending sports events in Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The women’s circuit moves to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a downhill and super-G this weekend — the final races before the world championships open in nearby Cortina d’Ampezzo.