Siebenhofer makes it two from two in Cortina d'Ampezzo

Ramona Siebenhofer waited 110 races before her first win on the World Cup and then like the proverbial bus, she has now won two in two races! Nici Schmidhofer took second behind her Austrian teammate with Ilka Stuhec taking third place.

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.

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”.

She added: To be honest, I had little mistakes, it was not so clean, it was good, but not perfect. I did not really know what it was all about. But when one after another runner came and was behind me, it became more and more clear that it could be enough. When Nici was on the course I was finally nervous again, I could not believe that she was behind me, after the last part-time, where she still led. Thanks to our service man, we can make mistakes and are still fast!"

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.

The final race of the Cortina weekend is scheduled for Sunday, the super G at 11.15 am, (10.15 UK time). 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.

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