It was a sunny day in Northern Italy and skiers were preparing to race another Alpine Skiing World Cup. After the cancelation of the downhill in Crans Montana last week, FIS decided to replace it this week in La Thuile.
Race for World Cup overall globe got heated as Lara Gut skied a near-perfect run and grabbed the elusive first win in the new World Cup venue, while Lindsey Vonn was not able to finish the race for the second time this year. A hundred point gain for Gut against Vonn was enough to put her back into the top position on the World Cup standings leading thirteen points with thirteen races to go.
Nadia Fanchini of Italy scored her first podium of the season, skiing into the third position in front of the home crowd. It was a nice surprise as she took her bib 10 to the top and led all the way until Cornelia Hütter’s performance. It was Fanchini’s first podium since Aare last March, when she managed to jump on the second position in giant slalom.
Hütter, who is representing Austria, proved her good form before the race in trainings, even scoring the fastest time on the second training. Today, however, she was 1.02 seconds behind Gut’s time, but was still able to finish the race on the second place, just 0.01 seconds in front of Fanchini. This was Hütter’s seventh podium of her career and sixth of the season, but despite all those achievements, she is still searching for that elusive first win. Lucky for her, there’s another downhill waiting for her just a day later.
Just minutes later, it was Gut’s turn to prove her form on the difficult slope. Gut was, despite making some mistake in the upper part, near perfect, as she skied down with a huge, more than a second, lead and upped the pressure on Vonn, who was still in the starting gate. Gut was not particularly happy with her run as seen in her post-run reaction, but she did not know yet that the run will take her all the way to victory. Fabienne Suter added to the Swiss success with a fourth place of her own.
Lindsey Vonn closed the group of seven best downhill skiers. Despite a great start, one of her skis fell off during a difficult turn. Thankfully she was fine, however, you could see she was a little shaken up by the fall. She will be even more motivated to do better tomorrow, now that she is also on second place in the standings for the globe, that she so desires. But Team USA did not really suffer with Lindsey’s failed run, as Laurenne Ross managed to ski into the fifth position and guarantee them another Top 5 result.
Women’s World Cup will continue in La Thuile with another downhill on Saturday and a super-G race on Sunday.
La Thuile Downhill Results:
1. Lara Gut (SUI) - 1:35.57
2. Cornelia Hütter (AUT) - +1.02
3. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) - +1.03
4. Fabienne Suter (SUI) - +1.17
5. Laurenne Ross (USA) - +1.29