Brignone seizes World Cup lead with dominant combined victory

Brignone finished 0.92 seconds clear of the field

Federica Brignone claimed the overall World Cup lead after powering to a comfortable victory in Sunday's combined event at Crans-Montana.

The Italian posted a total time of one minute and 56.24 seconds after excellent super-G and slalom runs, beating Austria's Franziska Gritsch by 0.92sec.

Her overall World Cup hopes were further boosted when title rival Petra Vlhova failed to finish the slalom, costing the Slovakian crucial points.

Olympic super-G champion Ester Ledecka finished third.

Brignone now leads American star Mikaela Shiffrin by 73 points in the overall standings with 11 races remaining.

"It's not finished, there are still so many races," said Brignone. "I feel a bit lucky today, but it was a good fight and I built my race on the super-G."

Shiffrin, bidding for a fourth straight big crystal globe, has not competed since the death of her father at the start of the month and is yet to announce when she will return to the circuit.

Vlhova is now 159 points adrift of Brignone.

Brignone grabbed the early lead with a super-G run of 1min, 15.62sec, before proving her technical skills with the quickest slalom effort of the day in 40.62sec.

The 29-year-old's 15th career World Cup win was all but confirmed when Vlhova made her costly error.

The World Cup season continues with a super-G at La Thuile in Italy on February 29, with another combined competition the following day at the same venue, which is only 20km from Brignone's home.

"I want to have my best weekend," she said.

"All my friends will be there, the whole valley will come to see me. It will be great, and quite stressful too."