Ilka Stuhec Back To The Top of the Podium in Cortina
In the second Downhill held in Cortina, in a shortened Olympia delle Tofane racecourse due to the wind, Slovenian Ilka Stuhec returns to the Top of the Podium four years after her double win (Super-G and Downhill) in Val Gardena on December 2018. Two weeks later after defending successfully her World Championship title in Downhill in February 2019, she injured her left knee in a crash in Crans-Montana, the same knee she previously injured in 2017.
It's her third podium of the season. The double Downhill World Champion at St. Moritz 2017 and Are 2019, finished second in the Downhill in St. Mortiz, and yesterday in the first Downhill in Cortina. The 32-year-old become the oldest winner in a women's World Cup Downhill race since Lindsey Vonn won in Åre on 14 March 2018 at age 33.
"It's been many years, it hasn't been easy. So many things happened in between that it's just crazy, actually. There were some moments when I thought, 'Why am I still doing this?. But I'm really happy that I kept going, that I trusted my inner feelings to fight on. And now I'm having fun again, and winning is really fun. In recent months I have continued to fight and I’ve been having good sensations. To be back at the top of the podium, more than four years after the last time, is fantastic", said Stuhec.
With bib number 30 Kajsa Vickhoff Lie finished in second place, 0.26 seconds behind Stuhec. The 24-year-old Norwegian achieved her second podium in the World Cup. Previously she had finished in second place in the Super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2021.
The two-time junior world champion from 2018 was considered a great speed talent early on, but her progression was stopped in February 2021 by a serious leg injury in Val di Fassa. This was followed by a long period of suffering and setbacks.
"I don't have any words actually. This second place is amazing. I knew I skied well in the first downhill (13th yesterday, Ed.) and then Ragnhild, (starting with race bib 5, Ed.), gave me the right advice to go all out because the snow conditions were perfect. I’m sorry I can’t share this podium with her, she arrived fourth by a tiny margin. I started slow this season but my hard work is paying off and it is great to get this result just before the World Championships. I'm really happy about being patient and trusting the process the whole time", said Lie.
Italian Elena Curtoni rounded out the podium in third place 0.34 seconds off the pace.
"I knew what to do even though today it was shorter, I knew where I had to be better. Yesterday I made some mistakes in the bottom part. Today I was faster so I'm happy about my skiing", said Curtoni.