WENGEN, Switzerland, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Former World Cup champion Carlo Janka ended a four-year drought with victory in a World Cup super-combined in Wengen on Friday. Winner of the overall World Cup in 2010, the towering Swiss last won a top-flight race in Kranjska Gora in 2011, weeks after undergoing heart surgery.
The former world and Olympic giant slalom champion had only made it on to the podium once since, in the Wengen super-combined two seasons ago.
“I don’t know why Wengen is such a good place for me. As far back as I can see, I’ve always done well here,” said the Swiss, who twice won the classic Lauberhorn downhill at the venue.
Impressive in the morning’s downhill run on a course he knows like the palm of his hand, Janka showed versatile skills to hold his ground in the slalom and beat French specialist Victor Muffat-Jeandet by 1.31 seconds.
Veteran Ivica Kostelic was third, 1.38 adrift, for his 13th podium in Wengen.
In Cortina d’Ampezzo, fog and local favorite Elena Fanchini ruined Lindsey Vonn’s chances of equaling the record number of World Cup victories.
The 29-year-old Fanchini, who only had one previous World Cup win in Lake Louise nine years ago, made the best of the conditions 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 and soft snow favored the early starters.
Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw earned her first career podium, 0.15 behind Fanchini, and third place went to 2010 Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.
Vonn, fastest in the only practice run on Thursday, finished a disappointing 10th, 0.88 behind Fanchini.
The American 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.
“I did the best I could but with these conditions I just couldn’t do any better. I fought hard but podium places were out of reach for the highest bibs. That’s part of the game,” she said.
Reporting by Manuele Lang, Writing by Francois Thomazeau, editing by Ed Osmond