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Lara Gut all but seals World Cup title with 3rd in combined

Lara Gut from Switzerland ha all but clinched a World Cup championship. (Jean-christophe Bott / Associated Press)
Lara Gut from Switzerland ha all but clinched a World Cup championship. (Jean-christophe Bott / Associated Press)
Graham Dunbar Associated Press

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland – Lara Gut is surely now the overall World Cup champion after placing third in a combined event on Sunday, won by her Switzerland teammate Wendy Holdener.

Gut skied down a foggy super-G course to earn 60 World Cup points and build a lead of 355 over Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, who did not race Sunday.

There are four races left in finals week at St. Moritz – offering 400 points for four wins – but Rebensburg never raced in World Cup slalom and does not plan to start next weekend.

Gut, who was ninth-fastest in the morning slalom run, gave only a low-key celebration in the finish area after taking the provisional race lead. She punched both fists low at her sides without smiling.

Switzerland has waited 21 years to have the world’s best all-around women’s Alpine skier, since Vreni Schneider’s third career title in 1995. The 24-year-old Gut became favorite two weeks ago, when American Lindsey Vonn’s season was ended by a knee injury. Vonn remains second in the standings ahead of Rebensburg.

Home fans in the 4,200 crowd got just what it wanted Sunday with a double celebration.

Holdener secured the season-long title in combined – edging out Gut – with a surprise fast run in the super-G to protect her lead from the slalom.

Holdener showed much more emotion than Gut, both crying and laughing in the finish area. She had a combined time 0.46 seconds faster than runner-up Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria, with Gut a further 0.01 back.

Gut seemed sure to clinch the overall title after a super-G on Saturday when Rebensburg conceded defeat in the points race. The German had finished a well-beaten 18th, as Gut padded her points lead in fifth.

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