Gut-Behrami storms to win in Zauchensee as favourite Goggia crashes out

The Swiss skier edges out German Kira Weidle in Austria as the reigning Olympic champion emerges unscathed from scary crash.

By Alessandro Poggi
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

With just over three weeks to go until the start of the alpine ski competitions at Beijing 2022, Lara Gut-Behrami returned to winning ways by taking the World Cup downhill race in Zauchensee, Austria.

The 30-year-old Swiss, who had to miss a few events this season after testing positive for Covid in mid December, claimed her second win of the current campaign after triumphing in the home Super G in St Moritz.

On the Gamskogel track in the Salzburg region, Gut-Behrami immediately found a high speed in the first section and, despite a mistake in the final jump, crossed the finish line first, surpassing by 0.10 seconds the early marker set by Kaira Weidle of Germany.

Gut-Behrami, the Cortina 2021 bronze medallist, started with the bib number 9 and held her lead until the end, with Austria's Ramona Siebenhofer finishing third, 0.44 seconds off the pace.

Hot favourite Sofia Goggia, who was looking for her eighth consecutive victory in downhill, failed to continue her unbeaten streak.

The reigning Olympic champion clocked the two fastest intermediate times, but midway through the course lost control of her left ski and hit the safety net at high speed. Luckily the Italian was quickly back on her feet and didn't seem to suffer any serious consequences.

"It's a shame, I crashed in the compression section, I think I hit a small snow bump and my ski went off. Then the other ski went off and I crashed into the netting: I went from 100 km/h to zero in the space of one second and a half," Goggia said after the race.

"I'm sorry because I was going fast. I feel a bit bruised and I have pain everywhere, but luckily I am still in one piece. Today I'll do all the necessary therapy and I'll try to be at the starting gate tomorrow (for the Super G), but let's see how I feel."

Sofia Goggia competing in Zauchensee, Austria, before crashing out.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

That was Gut-Behrami's 12th career downhill victory in the World Cup, which puts her ahead of Goggia and three-time Olympic gold medallist Maria Höfl-Riesch of Germany on women's list for most World Cup downhill victories.

"The last two months have actually been anything but good," the two-time world champion told Swiss reporters after her 34th career win.

"I'm happy that I'm back on track now and that I was able to ski well here. Hopefully it will stay that way. I'm tired, but I was able to ski at a good level over the last three days."

Defending World Cup champion Petra Vlhova entered her first speed event of the season, but didn't collect any points and failed to close the gap on overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin, who opted to sit out of the event.

Women's Downhill in Zauchensee, Austria, on 15 January 2022 - Results

1. Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) 1:45.78

2. Kira Weidle (GER) +0.10

3. Ramona Siebenhofer (AUT) +0.44

4. Nadia Delago (ITA) +0.52

5. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) +0.68

6. Federica Brignone (ITA) +0.87

7. Corinne Suter (SUI) +0.99

8. Ester Ledecka (CZE) +1.06

9. Jasmine Flury (SUI) +1.24

10. Christine Scheyer (AUT) +1.26

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