Canada's Gagnon wins Altenmarkt super-combined
Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon competes duirng the Women's Super Combined Super G race as part of the Super Combined event of the FIS World Cup held in Altenmarkt Zauchensee, Austria on January 12, 2014
The 24-year-old finished with a total time of 2min 05.55sec after one super-G and one slalom run, ahead of Austrian Michaela Kirchgasser and German double Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
Kirchgasser, crowned world silver medallist in the slalom last year, was 0.32sec behind the leader, with pre-race favourite Hoefl-Riesch at 0.39sec.
Gagnon, who only had one World Cup podium to her name before Sunday -- a slalom third-place in Are, Sweden in March 2012 -- was 16th after the super-G in the morning.
A strong run and mistakes by her closest rivals however ensured her first World Cup victory, to her own surprise.
"I didn't expect that. I was just doing my best... It's just incredible," she reacted afterwards.
Kirchgasser improved from a 20th place after the super-G to take her fourth World Cup super-combined podium.
Hoefl-Riesch, the reigning world and Olympic champion in the discipline, had been widely expected to dominate the race but had to settle for her second third-place after Saturday's downhill in the Austrian resort.
The leader after the first round, Austria's Nicole Hosp looked strong at the start of the slalom as she chased her first World Cup win in six years.
But in the end, the combined world bronze medallist and former overall World Cup winner couldn't keep up and finished just off the podium in fourth place.
"I was too far from the gates, I didn't manage it that well," she admitted.
"But it was great to have such a great super-G," said the 2007 giant slalom world champion.
Another favourite aside from Hoefl-Riesch had been Tina Maze of Slovenia but she finished sixth.
Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather and Austrian Anna Fenninger who clocked the second and third fastest times in the super-G, were 17th and eighth in the final results.
Super-combined results are tallied from one super-G or downhill run and one slalom run, requiring the athletes to master the skills needed for both speed and technical events.
This was the first of just two super-combined races this World Cup season and the only one before the Olympics next month, providing a crucial test for the skiers ahead of Sochi.
The women now move on to nearby Flachau for the night slalom event on Tuesday.