Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec produced a surprising win for the first ladies World Cup downhill of the season in Lake Louise, Canada. It was Stuhec’s first ever win after 110 starts on the World Cup tour. The 26 year-old finished ahead of Italy’s Sofia Goggia by 0.22 seconds with Sweden’s Kajsa Kling in third.
The course held up well for the majority of the race which meant racers lower down the top 30 were picking up good split times. Kling had a great line in the middle section of the course and was rewarded when she took the lead from Switzerland’s Lara Gut.
The Swede was in the winner’s enclosure for eleven racers until Goggia came down the course. Goggia got faster and faster after every split and was ecstatic when she realised her position on the timing board.
Goggia was pleased with her performance: “I think everybody had the same visibility today. I just went for it and I was so happy when I crossed the line.”
The Italian’s lead didn’t last for long though! Stuhec skied the Lake Louise course perfectly top to bottom. The Slovenian was ahead on every split during her run and was overwhelmed with joy when she saw she had taken the lead in the finish area. An impressive performance from a racer with no World Cup wins before the race started.
Defending overall World Cup champion Gut ended up in fourth place and was the only single digit bib number to finish in the top nine. Going later in the start order looked to be an advantage for some racers as the course seemed to get quicker the further the race went on.
Mikaela Shiffrin is currently leading the overall World Cup standings and managed to add to her points tally with a 18th place. The American was reasonably happy with her performance: “At some points I was scared and in my head I was saying ‘I’m going to die!’
“I managed to overcome that and I’m happy to finish to gain some valuable experience in the speed races, but I know I can ski faster than that.”
The first ladies downhill of the season was a fantastic spectacle with lead changes deep into the top 30 pack. A second downhill race from Lake Louise will be on December 3rd at 7:30pm GMT.