There is no longer any doubt: Valérie Grenier feels at home in Kranjska Gora.
The Canadian skier won the giant slalom on Saturday on the same mountain in Slovenia where, on January 7, 2023, she celebrated the first triumph of her career in the World Cup.
“I’m not really sure why it seems like this mountain is really good for me, and that final throw is always one of my best,” Grenier said.
“I’m not really sure why it seems to suit me, but I’ll take it.” »
After having negotiated the first run in 56.90 seconds, which left her in fourth place, the athlete from Ottawa shaved more than three seconds from this time and achieved the best time of the second run, i.e. 53, 61 seconds.
Her cumulative time of 1:50.51, achieved in very rainy conditions, allowed her to beat the Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami by 37 hundredths of a second.
“I feel like I can’t find the words. I am so happy, so proud. It’s crazy,” exclaimed the 27-year-old Canadian in the moments following her victory.
The Italian Federica Brignone completed the podium, 51 hundredths of a second behind Grenier.
The Slovakian Petra Vlhova had the best time in the initial round, 56.55. However, she raced down the track in 54.57 seconds on her second outing — on the 18th.e time of this second round — to finally finish fourth in the cumulative ranking in 1:51.12.
For her part, the American Mikaela Shiffrin, weakened by a cold for a week, was never really in the game.
Seventh after the first round, Shiffrin could not do better than 22e time in her second outing on the track, and she finished her day in ninth place in 1:52.39.
“I was completely surprised by how much my energy level was disrupted. It’s been a long time since I felt so low on energy,” said the American, who won the previous giant slalom in Austria.
In the general classification of the discipline, Grenier now occupies fourth place with 303 points, 46 less than Shiffrin.
Brignone is the leader with 460 points, closely followed by Gut-Behrami, who has 445.
In the general classification, all disciplines combined, Grenier totals 321 points which gives him seventh place. Shiffrin sits atop the rankings with 929 points.
Dissatisfied and determined
Grenier displayed her qualities in the first round when she recorded the fastest passage time in two of the four sections of the Podkoren track.
However, she lost nearly three-quarters of a second due to an error before entering the final run of the course.
“After the first round, I was really angry about my mistake,” admitted Grenier before adding that she said to herself, before the second round: “Now I want to win. »
For Grenier, this is a third career World Cup podium, all in giant slalom. On March 19, 2023, during the World Cup finals, she finished third in Soldeu, Andorra.
The victory she recorded on January 7, 2023 also made her the first Canadian to win a World Cup giant slalom event in 49 years.
For the Franco-Ontarian, it is also a fourth top-10 on the Slovenian mountain.
On January 8, 2022, Grenier finished a giant slalom in fourth place. Exactly a year later, she finished sixth in another giant slalom.
Britt Richardson (1:53.16) was the only other Canadian to complete both runs. She ranked 19e.
A slalom is to take place on the same mountain on Sunday.