(Reuters) - Italy’s Olympic champion Sofia Goggia won her first World Cup downhill of the season in Crans-Montana on Saturday, cashing in after Slovenia’s world champion Ilka Stuhec had suffered a fall.
Stuhec, the first starter, was fresh from retaining her global title in Are two weeks ago. She lost her balance when landing a jump and slid into the safety nets but appeared unscathed as she rose to ski down to the finish.
Her misfortune, though, only opened the door for Goggia to power to her first triumph since her Olympic win in Pyeongchang last year and she was the only racer in the field to break one-and-a-half minutes over the 2.45-km course in the Swiss resort.
In a race which saw problems with some of the timing equipment, Goggia was officially clocked at one minute 29.77 seconds to finish 0.36 seconds clear of Switzerland’s Joana Haehlen and 0.45 ahead of another Swiss, Lara Gut-Behrami.
Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer, the fourth-placed finisher, extended her lead in the World Cup downhill standings but American Mikaela Shiffrin, who was resting after her world championship heroics, remains the runaway leader in the race for the overall title.
Goggia won the World Cup downhill title last year but was deprived of the chance of retaining her title by an ankle injury which kept her out of action until a month ago.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Clare Fallon