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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (Reuters) - Fog and local favorite Elena Fanchini ruined Lindsey Vonn’s chances of equaling the record number of World Cup victories in Cortina d’Ampezzo on Friday.
The 29-year-old Fanchini, who only claimed one previous World Cup win in Lake Louise nine years ago, made the best of the special conditions on the day to win a shortened downhill in one minute 9.53 seconds.
“To win again after such a long wait and so much hard work is great, but to do it at home is just a dream,” said Fanchini, who broke into the limelight in 2005 when she claimed a downhill silver medal at the world championships in Bormio.
Fog and snow at the summit of the Tofane piste forced organizers to do without the steep and fast top section while soft snow favored early starting bibs, and none of the pre-race favorites were in contention.
Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw earned her first career podium 0.15 behind Fanchini while third place went to 2010 giant slalom Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, 0.31 off the pace.
Vonn, who had been fastest in the only practice run on Thursday, finished a disappointing 10th, 0.88 behind Fanchini.
The American, who had won the last two World Cup downhills, still leads the discipline’s standings and will have two more chances, another downhill on Saturday and a Super-G on Sunday, to go for Annemarie Moser Proell’s record of 62 World Cup victories.
World Cup leader and downhill Olympic champion Tina Maze of Slovenia did not fare any better, finishing a lowly 13th.
Writing by Francois Thomazeau, editing by Julien Pretot