19-20 January 2019
Olympia delle Tofane - Cortina d'Ampezzo

Sensational back-to-back victory: Ramona Siebenhofer the first to win two downhills on Olympia

Sunday's super G will be the 100th in Cortina's race history

 

Date: 19/01/2019 from 1400
Place: Cortina d'Ampezzo

(by Max Vergani)

Olympia has chosen its Queen: Ramona Siebenhofer won her second downhill in Cortina and, after securing her first career win in Friday’s race, twenty-four hours later she was back with another impeccable performance. It is the first time in the history of the course that a female skier has won back-to-back downhills and earns the Austrian a place in the Cortina record books. Lindsey Vonn’s expression, captured at the starting gate just after the Austrian crossed the finish line, spoke volumes: amazement mingled with admiration. The Austrian’s team mate Nicole Schmidhofer, who started two numbers after her, was the only one to even come close, leading until the penultimate intermediate time check. But it was the final part of the course, which awards those who let their skis run, that Siebenhofer made the difference, taking home her second consecutive victory.

Behind the two Austrian athletes was the Slovenian Ilka Stuhec, on blistering form, who has turned the corner after her long absence due to injury, coming in 51 hundredths behind Siebenhofer. Just outside the podium was the real revelation, the German Kira Weidle, who skied incredibly in the first two races, whereas Lindsey Vonn moved up a couple of places to ninth, 1"36 off the pace.

The fastest of the Italians was Nicol Delago, who celebrated at the finish line when she saw the green light. She was, however, only the second out of the starting gate and finished just ahead of Stephanie Venier who had opened the competition. Delago, however, had to settle for eleventh place and confessed her performance had not been of her usually high standard: she skied well in the first part of the course, which matches her style better but, from the turns onwards and the point where she went out on Friday, she slowed down, finishing 1"40 behind Siebenhofer.

Federica Brignone had a better race, just 5 hundredths slower than Delago, despite the downhill not being her main discipline: the athlete from Val D’Aosta performed well in the fast sections and matched the quickest skiers in the technical part, clocking her best downhill result this season in twelfth place. Nadia Fanchini, whose thirteenth place was the same as Friday’s race, started off badly but made up time in the technical section.

There was disappointment for Francesca Marsaglia who skied well through the first gates, which she is not strongest at, but then made a mistake which determined her fate: she hit her left arm against a pole and the pain was obvious as she crossed the finish. As a result, she finished 29th. Outside the points were Elena Curtoni (35th) and Marta Bassino (21st) who had a good run, recording her season’s best in the downhill.

The final race of the Cortina weekend is scheduled for Sunday, the super G at 11.15 am. This race has made history even before it has begun, as it will be the 100th in the resort’s race history which began way back in 1969 with the first men’s downhill which was won by Josef Minsch of Switzerland. Exactly 50 years ago. This year’s World Cup sees Shiffrin confidently at the top of the rankings ahead of Vlhova and Holdener, with Viktoria Rebensburg holding on to her fourth place, thanks to her fifth place in the downhill today. Federica Brignone (424 points) dropped a position, overtaking Frida Hansdotter but now behind Stuhec and Schmidhofer. The Austrian has an eight-point lead in the downhill rankings over the queen of Cortina, Ramona Siebenhofer.

 

Quotes:

Ramona Siebenhofer: “The Olympia delle Tofane course is right up my street and matches my style. I love the bumps in the slope and the fact that you get faster and faster as you go down. Today’s win is even more amazing for me. It was almost a surprise yesterday but everything was a lot harder today. I was even more nervous. It’ll be great to compete on this slope in the forthcoming World Championships. This weekend has changed my life, because I had been chasing victory for so long and now I’ve actually got two”.

Nicol Delago: "I’m not at all happy with my performance and certain lines I skied, I didn’t make the most of the sections I wanted to and, quite honestly, I’m not satisfied with the race. But my result wasn’t that bad and I’ll try and do better in the super G. It’s amazing here in Cortina with the grandstand area: here’s a huge crowd, I saw the fans when I crossed the finish and it’s always a thrill. Let’s hope it continues like this up to 2021 and even 2026".

Federica Brignone: "I’m happy with my performance. In the technical section I finally managed to do what I had to do as a giant slalom skier, my aim was to be tight on the turns and maintain the right concentration; recently I haven’t been able to turn it up a notch in competition. I’m glad I did today, in Italy and in the downhill. It’s my second-best result ever in the downhill, so I’m thrilled. The two Austrians had a different mindset, they are very fast and fluid, they’re good. Lindsey Vonn is the top downhill skier of all time and is still the best in the world. You can see she’s in trouble, she didn’t appear on top form in Copper before her injury either. But she’s a champ: she trained for a week and is in the top ten".

  
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