Stuhec wins sea­son-open­ing down­hill

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Slove­nia’s Ilka Stuhec won the sea­son-open­ing ladies down­hill at Lake Louise on Fri­day with the first World Cup vic­tory of her ski rac­ing ca­reer.

The 26-year-old Stuhec stunned the fa­vorites by clock­ing a win­ning time of one minute, 45.48 sec­onds to claim the first of two down­hills this week­end at the moun­tain re­sort in the Cana­dian Rock­ies. “I knew I could ski fast and I just needed to put it in a race and I did,” said Stuhec, whose best pre­vi­ous re­sult on the World Cup cir­cuit was a fourth place in the 2013 su­per-G in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

The sec­ond down­hill is slated for later fol­lowed by a su­per-G race to­day.

Italy’s Sofia Gog­gia was sec­ond with a time of one minute, 45.70 sec­onds, while Swe­den’s Ka­jsa Kling fin­ished third with one minute, 45.79 sec­onds. The pre-race fa­vorite, Lara Gut of Switzer­land, set­tled for a time of one minute, 46.17 sec­onds and a fourth place fin­ish.

Gut, who failed to earn a sin­gle World Cup point dur­ing last week’s races in Ver­mont be­cause of a bad fall, now sits in sixth in the over­all race with 150 points.

Stuhec was a sur­prise win­ner Fri­day af­ter start­ing from the 29th po­si­tion.

“I had a feel­ing that I could show some more than just av­er­age re­sults around 10th to 15th place, that I could ski good and I could ski fast and ap­par­ently, to­day, the fastest,” Stuhec said.

Amer­i­can Mikaela Shiffrin is in first place in the over­all with 338 points. She tied for 18th in Fri­day’s down­hill with a time that was al­most two sec­onds slower than Stuhec. But this is the first World Cup down­hill for Shiffrin who has dom­i­nated in slalom the past few sea­sons.

“It wasn’t bad at all,” said Shiffrin of her down­hill de­but. The 21-year-old Amer­i­can had a lengthy wait in the start­ing gate af­ter the skier be­fore her crashed.

“I strug­gled a lit­tle with the course hold, but it was a clean run-cleaner than pre­vi­ous days,” she said. “I’m sure we’ll see a cou­ple things in video and then I’ll try and make ad­just­ments for to­mor­row. But right now, I’m alive and ev­ery­thing’s good.” The top Cana­dian was Valerie Gre­nier who fin­ished in 28th.

LAKE LOUISE: Ilka Stuhec, of Slove­nia, skis dur­ing the women’s World Cup down­hill ski race at Lake Louise, Al­berta, Fri­day. — AP

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