Lake Louise (Canada)
Austria’s Cornelia Hutter swept to victory in the women’s downhill at the Lake Louise World Cup event on Friday as favourite Lindsey Vonn crashed out.
Hutter, 25, clocked 1min 48.53sec to pip Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather in second and US star Mikaela Shiffrin in third.
But the race was overshadowed by the spectacular fall which ended American ski queen Vonn’s challenge.
The 33-year-old Olympic gold medallist — whose 18 wins at Lake Louise include 14 downhill victories — had looked to be on course for another victory as she posted the best time heading into the final curve.
However she lost balance when her skis appeared to touch and her right leg buckled before she hurtled into the safety nets.
“Well that hurt,” Vonn later tweeted. “had a nice lead the whole way down but caught my inside ski. That’s ski racing though!”
Vonn, who has suffered a litany of serious knee and leg injuries over the years, initially appeared to be motionless as officials worked to extricate her from the nets.
However she eventually got to her feet unsteadily and was able to return to the finish area on her skis.
Vonn, who has 77 World Cup victories, said she planned to be racing in Saturday’s downhill, with a super-G scheduled for Sunday.
“I’ll be sore tomorrow but will rest up tonight and barring anything major I will be racing,” she vowed. “Can’t keep me down!”
For Hutter, it was a second career World Cup victory and her first since she missed a year with a knee injury.
“It’s unbelievable, so weird,” said Hutter, who admitted she was surprised when she saw the green light flash up to indicate she was leading the field when she crossed the finish line.
“A comeback is always special,” she said. “I was confident in the start gate, but I didn’t kow if I was quick enough to beat these girls.
“I am super-happy. To win is special.”
America’s Shiffrin consolidated her first place in the overall standings, which she leads with 365 points from Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, 236 points.
Known for her prowess in the technical events, Shiffrin notched her first podium in a speed discipline. “I thought I could be top five or top 10 in downhill, I wasn’t really expecting a podium — it would have been preposterous,” Shiffrin said. “I felt that my run was pretty solid today, and I had the luck with the snow conditions.”—AFP