Gut takes her first downhill win of the season in Cortina

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, ITALY - JANUARY 28: Lara Gut of Switzerland in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on January 28, 2017 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

It was Lara Gut’s first downhill win of the season as she beat Italy’s Sofia Goggia by a narrow margin of 0.05 seconds, with Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia in third. The conditions were perfect with blue skies and firm snow making it a perfect day for racing. 

At bib 5, Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany took the lead early on in the race from Johanna Schnarf of Italy. The home crowd was silenced but Rebensburg had to wait for more of the more established names on the World Cup to come down.

Stuhec has shown great form in speed this season, with three race wins already to her name and Cortina was no different. The Slovenian showed textbook downhill skills and took the lead from Rebensburg by 0.06 seconds. It was looking very tight at the top of the leaderboard. Could Stuhec get her fourth downhill victory of the season?

Two races after Stuhec was Goggia, who had the motivation of a home win to attack the course, and was ahead on every split. The Italian was compact and took a gutsy line during her run. The crowd went into a frenzy when she took the lead by 0.42 seconds. A very impressive run!

It was then time for Lara Gut to take to the course. Gut gradually built into her run and ended up snatching the lead by 0.04 seconds ahead of Sofia Goggia. It was Gut’s first downhill win of the season and her fifth in all disciplines. She is starting to pick up form going into the World Championships!

Gut was very pleased with her victory but wasn’t sentimental about her first win in Cortina: “It is not so special for me that it is my first win in Cortina, but it’s always nice to win. I’m just taking it race by race.”

Unfortunately for Lindsey Vonn it was deja vu from her training run crash. Vonn crashed in the same place as training the day before but managed to ski away again. She admitted she landed awkwardly after the jump and had “no chance” of making a recovery. Vonn made it clear that “it was certainly my fault” for the crash, but it was encouraging that she was ahead on the split before the crash.

Anna Veith managed to finish her first downhill of the season and grabbed a solid result of 19th place. Veith is gradually easing her way into the speed disciplines and this result is definitely a building block for the rest of the season. Veith said she was “very happy” to be back on downhill and will take “one race at a time”.

Stuhec will lead the downhill standings going into the final races after the World Championships. Gut has finally got that downhill victory she has been waiting for and will take confidence from her win going into tomorrow’s Super G.

The next World Cup race for the ladies is a Super G from Cortina,Italy tomorrow at 10:30 GMT.

Results 

1 Lara Gut (SUI)

2 Soffia Goggia (ITA) +0.05

3 Ilka Stuhec (SLO) +0.47

4 Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) +0.53

5 Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) +0.77

Peter Davies