Women’s Giant Slalom – Sölden 2020 – Betting Preview and Predictions
Everything is set for the opening race of the 2020/21 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season, which will take place on the renowned Rettenbach glacier in Sölden, Austria this Saturday, October 17. Although the opening race – and likely most of the remaining ones – will be without a live audience, this season won’t lack exciting moments that will keep us on the edge of our seats throughout winter.
Last season, Sölden saw a surprise win from the New Zealander Alice Robinson, who won her first Giant Slalom race in her career, edging out Mikaela Shiffrin and Tessa Worley. The Kiwi later added another GS victory in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, eventually finishing the season ranked fifth in GS and 17th overall.
Despite Robinson’s success on the Rettenbach glacier, she is far from one of the favourites to win the opening race of 2020/21 season, with many big names standing in her way. With Shiffrin’s absence due to a back injury, the battle for the first gold medal of the season will likely come down to the 2019/20 Giant Slalom World Cup winner Federica Brignone, Petra Vlhová, with Robinson, Marta Bassino and Tessa Worley looking to cause an upset.
The favourites to win Sölden Giant Slalom
Federica Brignone had an exceptional season in 2019 when she won not only the Giant Slalom and Alpine Combined disciplines but also the overall World Cup. We, however, would not praise her achievement too much since the Italian benefited from Mikaela Shiffrin’s premature end of the season after the death of her father.
This season will be the year where the Italian will have to prove her worth and since Giant Slalom is her discipline, it’s fair to see her priced as the favourite to claim the W in Austria as she did in 2015. Having said that, are always big question marks about the skiers’ form in the opening races of the season, so it’s definitely worth exploring other options.
Petra Vlhová was once regarded as a pure Slalom specialist but expanded her expertise to include Giant Slalom where she soon established herself as one of the best in the world. It would be hard to argue against that claim since she has finished second in the discipline last season and is also the reigning World Champion in GS.
To date, Vlhová has won four World Cup GS races which is quite impressive, however, we have to note that the Czech skier has yet to impress at the Rettenbachferner. In six appearances in Sölden, she has not recorded a better finish than eighth (2016). Due to Vlhová’s lack of success on the Austrian glacier, and the fact that she failed to finish half of her races (3/6), she is perhaps not the best option to bet on and hardly worth a shot at 4.75 (Bet365).
As the reigning champion in Sölden, Alice Robinson is in eyes of many a very solid pick on the outright market and while there are definitely arguments to be made in her favour, it’s also fair to say there are better athletes in the field.
The New Zealander skier has made some serious noise last season with victories in Sölden, as well as Kranjska Gora – an accomplishment that becomes that much more impressive if we consider she is barely 18-years of age. Robinson also won the title at the World Junior Championship, and with that solidified herself as the next big thing in the Alpine Skiing.
Hoping to build on her success from last year, Robinson will likely look to start the new season with a repeat victory in Austria. Since she has already proven she can do it, we can expect many people running with their money to the bookmaker looking to back the Kiwi. We, however, won’t be one of those – at least not for the opening race of the season.
Tessa Worley is priced as the “outsider” to win the race in Sölden, which only goes to show how stacked the field is heading to Austria. It is, however, true that the two-time GS world champion and 2017 GS crystal globe holder has been struggling with injuries for a nice chunk of time, which prevented her from recapturing her form from three years ago.
Worley has stated that she is back in form and ready to prove herself on the icy slopes once more. There are always some doubts when an athlete makes it public his/her former injuries are dealt with, however, it’s fair to give the Frenchwoman some respect when it comes to Grand Slalom races.
Much of the same holds true for Martina Bassino, who is not to be overlooked in Giant Slalom races. She has triumphed in Killington last season, which marked her first World Cup win. The Italian has also left her mark in Sölden in 2016 when she locked in a third-place finish.
Since then, however, she has not come close to that repeating that feat by failing to finish the race in 2017 and 2018 and managed a rather poor 12th place finish last year. Nevertheless, Bassino has proven she can win big Giant Slalom races so it’s fair to expect another solid finish from her.
Another name worth mentioning ahead of the opening race of the season includes Lara Gut-Behrami, who has won in Sölden in 2013 and 2016, trailing only Tina Maze (3), who achieved more World Cup events in this specific event. Since then, Gut-Behrami managed a 14th-place finish in 2018 and eighth in 2019.
Prediction: Tessa Worley Podium Finish – Medium Stake – 3.40 at Bet365
Prediction: Tessa Worley to Win – Low Stake – 11.00 at Bet365