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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Stephanie Venier Wins First Downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Updated: Jan 28

Stephanie Venier. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Downhill 2024
Stephanie Venier. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Downhill 2024. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

Stephanie Venier took today in Cortina d'Ampezzo the first victory for Austria in the Women's Downhill since Nicole Schmidhofer won in Lake Louise on December 7, 2019. For the 30-year-old Austrian skier from Tirol, it is her second World Cup victory, the first in almost five years, since she won the downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on January 27, 2019.

Lara Gut-Behrami finished in second place 0.39 seconds behind Venier. A trio of skiers made up of Sofia Goggia, Christina Ager, and Valerie Grenier finished in third place 0.71 seconds off the pace. This is the first time since 2018 with five skiers on the podium and the first time ever in a Women's World Cup Downhill.

Venier confirmed what was shown in training and the last Downhill held in Zauchensee where she finished in second place, her first Downhill podium since February 2020 in Crans Montana.

On a perfect day for the Austrian team, four skiers ended up in the Top 10 on the Olympia delle Tofane, with Cornelia Hütter finishing eighth and Mirjam Puchner ninth.

"I had a good feeling, but I didn't think it would be enough for first place. But my service man did a great job with the setup. I did well in training and managed to keep up the speed well again. I think my self-confidence is back and that was the key. The slope is a little bit different than the years before because there are more rollers so it’s not that easy, but it was real fun", Venier said.

Lara Gut-Behrami earned today her 21st podium in the Downhill.

"It’s a good race, I felt good. The problem at the moment is that everything always has to be perfect. And when you ski and everything is different than expected, you don't have a plan. It's different today than it was two days ago, but it's not much faster. The jumps used to be much more dangerous, but we were used to it. It is surprising that so many people fall, even though the slope is in good condition", Gut-Behrami said.

"I moved a lot with the terrain on the top, but in the last section, I was not so fast. Skiing is all about being ready and you have to adapt your skiing, so I have a few things to improve upon for tomorrow", she added.

Sofia Goggia finished in third place and achieved her third podium in Downhill of the season. She won the last Downhill in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, finished in second place in the first Downhill of the season in St. Moritz, and fourth in Val d'Isère. The Italian leads the Downhill standings with 290 points. Stephanie Venier is second with 216, and Lara Gut-Behrami is third with 164.

"Not an easy day for sure, but I had a solid performance. I had a bad first training run, our only one, so today I needed a clean run. Of course, I did my best, but it was not enough. I can push even more and I will try tomorrow", Goggia said.

Valerie Grenier today added his fourth podium in the World Cup, his first in Downhill, the previous three were in Giant Slalom.

28-year-old Christina Ager achieved today her first podium in the Alpine Ski World Cup.

The first Women's Downhill in Cortina d'Ampezzo was overshadowed by the serious fall of Mikaela Shiffrin. The US ski star crashed after losing control in the jump before the Tofana-schuss entry curve and ended in the safety net. She stayed down for several minutes. She was able to leave on her own, but but unable to place any weight on her left leg. She was transported by the rescue helicopter for further examination. A few minutes later Federica Brignone also fell and Corinne Suter screamed in pain after landing at the same place as Shiffrin and was also evacuated by helicopter.

"Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes. At this point I'm just taking it day by day, and I'll share more information or updates as I know more. Very thankful it's not worse, but I'm pretty sore at the moment. I won't be skiing the rest of this weekend, and I won't be skiing in Kronplatz. Beyond that, it's quite hard to say right now. Need a little time to process with my team and see how everything is feeling in the coming days", Shiffrin wrote on Instagram.

Sadly, Corine Suter's season is over. The examinations at the Hirslanden Clinic in Zurich revealed a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament and an injury to the internal meniscus in the left knee.


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