On the bumpy, shortened downhill course in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, there was no easy way down. The only option was to give it everything, and that’s exactly what the Italian women did. Sofia Goggia fought relentlessly down the slope through challenging visibility to win by 1.10 seconds. Her teammates Federica Brignone and Nadia Fanchini, while unable to catch her, put up a valiant fight against the Franz Klammer track, taking second and third, respectively. 

It has been less than a year since the Italians, who call themselves the downhill lions, pulled off a similar sweep in the giant slalom at World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo. The old adage holds true for this team. High tides raise all boats. It seems Brignone’s super-G victory on Saturday gave the team the momentum they needed to sweep again and make history. Their performances marked the first time Italian women have swept the podium in a World Cup downhill. 

Goggia has been gaining speed all season. After a breakout year in 2016-17, the Italian had a slow start to the year, but returned to the podium in Val d’Isere, France. Sunday marked her first victory of the season, a good sign with a just over a month left before the Olympic downhill in South Korea. Goggia won the test event there last year and the downhill lion will be on the hunt for gold.

“Today I said to myself, ‘I’m tired of racing and nothing comes out,'” Goggia told SkiWeltCup.TV. “…I was certainly the bravest. I rode my Goggia style today, full of assault. I found that again. I’m happy about today’s result, and I’m happy for the whole team. I am especially happy for Nadia after her hard time, the injuries, the illness of her sister. I told her, ‘This victory is only for you!”

Fanchini’s older sister and World Cup skier Elena was recently diagnosed with a neoplasm,  and is undergoing treatment for what is being reported as a curable disease. However, that does mean that Elena’s season is over.

Sofia Goggia of Italy takes first place in the women’s downhill on Jan. 14. // Image Credit: Hans Bezard/Agence Zoom

The results marked significant milestones for her teammates as well. Until Sunday, Brignone had never been on the podium in a World Cup downhill. In fact, she had never seen the top 10. Her best result was 12th in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, last season.

“I’m really surprised, very happy,” Brignone admitted. “It was an advantage for me to have the start down. My chance is much bigger than usual. I never expected it. How we will celebrate I do not know, but we have a tight schedule. We’ll continue to training and then to Cortina.”

Fanchini, on the other hand, boasts a history of World Cup downhill success, but it has been two years since she stood on the podium when she won the downhill in La Thuile, Italy. The emotional result had her in tears as she stood in the leader box with her teammates to see if their times would hold.

Image Credit: GEPA / Christian Walgram

“I am happy – also for the whole team,” Fanchini said. “After the many injuries, it is difficult for me. I have only been back on skis for two months. I dedicate the result to my sister.”

Just off the podium in fourth place was Tiffany Gauthier. The French skier took fourth place in the super-G and the downhill. Gauthier–up until Saturday–had never been in the top 5 of a World Cup. Something about the Austrian venue propelled her to the top of the results sheet. Italian Marta Bassino also had a standout performance in the downhill, coming from bib 45 to finish in 10th place. It was only the second time ever that she has scored World Cup points in the discipline.

Laurenne Ross led the American contingent in 13th place, 2.25 seconds away from the win.

“Today was an extremely tough race,” Ross shared. “These are the most difficult conditions I’ve skied in since I’ve been injured and to have to race in them was a really big challenge for me. So, I definitely had a lot of doubt and fear and anxiety and just all of the emotions…It didn’t feel good, but I suppose nobody’s run really felt that great. It’s a really difficult hill and conditions are kind of ridiculous.”

Laurenne Ross charging to a top-15 result in the downhill. // Image Credit: GEPA / Daniel Goetzhaber

All, but one of her teammates managed to land in the top 30. Alice Mckennis, Stacey Cook, Breezy Johnson, and Lindsey Vonn finished in 19th, 22nd, 26th and 27th, respectively. Jacqueline Wiles did not finish.

“I knew it was going to be a struggle this morning from the training run,” Vonn said. “Really poor visibility and really icy and bumpy conditions. I was very conservative in the downhill training run. Obviously, I was sliding around a lot, but in the race, I was pushing harder. I just really had no grip on the ice. Felt like I was skiing on marbles, but it’s just not a great day.”

Vonn will have a chance to add more wins to her record next week at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in two downhills and a super-G.


Top 10

1. Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
3. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) – Dynastar / Look / Lange
4. Tiffany Gauthier (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
5. Tina Weirather (LIE) – Head/Head/Head
6. Jasmine Flury (SUI) – Stoeckli / Lange / Marker
6. Michelle Gisin (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
8. Anna Veith (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
9. Stephanie Venier (AUT) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10. Marta Bassino (ITA) – Salomon / Salomon / Salomon


Official Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff. FIS Points WC Points
 1  5  298323 GOGGIA Sofia 1992 ITA  1:04.00  0.00  100
 2  2  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  1:05.10  +1.10  21.48  80
 3  12  296729 FANCHINI Nadia 1986 ITA  1:05.45  +1.45  28.32  60
 4  36  197383 GAUTHIER Tiffany 1993 FRA  1:05.59  +1.59  31.05  50
 5  7  355050 WEIRATHER Tina 1989 LIE  1:05.74  +1.74  33.98  45
 6  24  516248 FLURY Jasmine 1993 SUI  1:05.85  +1.85  36.13  40
 6  8  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI  1:05.85  +1.85  36.13  40
 8  19  55947 VEITH Anna 1989 AUT  1:06.03  +2.03  39.65  32
 9  13  56177 VENIER Stephanie 1993 AUT  1:06.06  +2.06  40.23  29
 10  45  299276 BASSINO Marta 1996 ITA  1:06.08  +2.08  40.63  26
 11  9  516138 GUT Lara 1991 SUI  1:06.13  +2.13  41.60  24
 12  14  516319 SUTER Corinne 1994 SUI  1:06.20  +2.20  42.97  22
 13  17  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  1:06.25  +2.25  43.95  20
 14  3  56128 HUETTER Cornelia 1992 AUT  1:06.27  +2.27  44.34  18
 15  32  197497 MIRADOLI Romane 1994 FRA  1:06.32  +2.32  45.31  16
 16  4  56087 SIEBENHOFER Ramona 1991 AUT  1:06.33  +2.33  45.51  15
 17  29  155763 LEDECKA Ester 1995 CZE  1:06.36  +2.36  46.09  14
 18  6  55970 SCHMIDHOFER Nicole 1989 AUT  1:06.37  +2.37  46.29  13
 19  23  538685 MCKENNIS Alice 1989 USA  1:06.41  +2.41  47.07  12
 20  43  197641 GAUCHE Laura 1995 FRA  1:06.42  +2.42  47.27  11
 21  26  56088 TIPPLER Tamara 1991 AUT  1:06.50  +2.50  48.83  10
 22  28  516219 NUFER Priska 1992 SUI  1:06.57  +2.57  50.20  9
 22  16  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:06.57  +2.57  50.20  9
 24  11  296427 SCHNARF Johanna 1984 ITA  1:06.67  +2.67  52.15  7
 25  38  197295 PIOT Jennifer 1992 FRA  1:06.77  +2.77  54.10  6
 26  10  6535455 JOHNSON Breezy 1996 USA  1:06.84  +2.84  55.47  5
 27  15  537544 VONN Lindsey 1984 USA  1:07.03  +3.03  59.18  4
 28  18  425929 MOWINCKEL Ragnhild 1992 NOR  1:07.07  +3.07  59.96  3
 29  1  56198 SCHEYER Christine 1994 AUT  1:07.16  +3.16  61.72  2
 30  25  206460 WENIG Michaela 1992 GER  1:07.37  +3.37  65.82  1
 31  34  297195 HOFER Anna 1988 ITA  1:07.41  +3.41  66.60  0
 32  33  506701 HOERNBLAD Lisa 1996 SWE  1:07.49  +3.49  68.16  0
 33  31  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT  1:07.53  +3.53  68.95  0
 34  37  56174 HAASER Ricarda 1993 AUT  1:07.61  +3.61  70.51  0
 35  40  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA  1:08.15  +4.15  81.05  0
 36  47  107583 REMME Roni 1996 CAN  1:08.82  +4.82  94.14  0
 37  41  298767 SOSIO Federica 1994 ITA  1:08.96  +4.96  96.88  0
 38  46  25194 PALLAS Carmina 1996 AND  1:09.63  +5.63  109.96  0
Did not finish 1st run
 42  375018 COLETTI Alexandra 1983 MON  0
 39  107613 GRENIER Valerie 1996 CAN  0
 35  56336 DENGSCHERZ Dajana 1996 AUT  0
 30  516185 HAEHLEN Joana 1992 SUI  0
 27  206668 WEIDLE Kira 1996 GER  0
 22  299466 DELAGO Nicol 1996 ITA  0
 21  296431 STUFFER Verena 1984 ITA  0
 20  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  0
Did not start 1st run
 44  506718 IVARSSON Lin 1996 SWE  0

 

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Gabbi Hall
Digital Content Editor
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A California native, Gabbi moved to Vermont to ski on the NCAA circuit for St. Michael’s College, where she served as team captain and studied journalism. Before joining Ski Racing, she worked as a broadcast TV producer and social media manager in higher education. She can be reached via email at gabbi@skiracing.com
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