Unstoppable Ilka Stuhec wins third downhill in a row

17 December 2016 12:46
Ilka Stuhec Val d'Isere downhill
Ilka Stuhec Val d'Isere downhill -
Agence Zoom

A bumpy and wild ride for Slovenia's Ilka Stuhec proved fast enough for her third downhill victory in a row on Saturday in Val d'Isere, France. She bested Austrian Cornelia "Conny" Huetter, in second, and Italian Sofia Goggia, third, on her way to an undefeated season thus far in downhill. 

"Everyday, everyone is sliding through it. It’s been four [runs] today that we’ve skied the course, and it’s always getting a bit wilder, I guess. I just tried to ski it the way I imagined it. It didn’t work out that way, but apparently, fast enough," said Stuhec. "I don’t really know what’s going on actually. It just feels amazing even though I’m still not satisfied with the run because I made some mistakes again. But, apparently, it was still fast enough, so it makes me happy."

As has become an annual tradition at the Val d'Isere downhill, Stuhec won a cow in the finish area. She named it Iša in memory of a dog she once had. 

Huetter was beyond pleased to be back on the podium after struggling with injury and trying to regain her form from a breakout 2015/16 season. 

“It’s amazing. The last weeks were not very good for me, and it’s hard to rehab again and find the speed from the last year. Today was not easy in my head. But at the end, it’s good," Huetter said. "It was not easy today because it was –from the feeling – a little bit faster. And for sure, it is dark. There is no sun. After two trainings and one combined yesterday, it’s getting bumpier and bumpier. Yeah, it was really tough and you had to stand forward on the ski and feel really self-confident.”

Goggia, meanwhile, led a solid Italian team that swept positions third to sixth along with the Fanchini sisters (Nadia and Elena) and Johanna Schnarf.  

“In GS, we have a supremacy that is overwhelming. In downhill, we can really be a fast team. Not as [good as] giant slalom, but still a really strong one. Today, we confirmed this," said Goggia. “Ilka is a really nice person – a nice girl who suffered also a lot of injuries to the knees, so we start from the same ground because we know what suffering means with all the trouble ... and she really deserved this because if she worked as hard as I did, she really deserved this.” 

Following her career-first podium the previous day in alpine combined, Switzerland's Michelle Gisin rocketed from bib 51 into seventh place, stunning the crowd. The technical skier joked in the finish that maybe she should become a speed specialist after nearly matching her best finish in slalom, sixth place secured last week at Sestriere. 

See full results from the downhill race here.

The ladies contest one final race in Val d'Isere on Sunday, a super-G.