Ilka Stuhec storms to first victory since return from injury
© Agence Zoom

Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia stormed to her first World Cup podium and victory since returning from an injury that kept her sidelined from competition for 20 months. She bested her competitors in the rescheduled ladies' Audi FIS Ski World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena-Gröden (ITA). With an impressive skating and gliding start on the upper flat, Stuhec built her lead over the terrain and turns on the Saslong in the first ladies' World Cup race at the venue since 1975. 

Nicol Delago of Italy was powered by the hometown crowd to her career-first podium as she finished just 0.14 seconds shy of Stuhec in second place. Hailing from nearby Selva di Val Gardena, she posted the best run of her career thus far in her very own backyard and turned into an instant celebrity among fans and race volunteers. Delago had two strong training runs on the slope finishing third and second in Monday's practice, and she was thrilled to convert her fast skiing into a race-day result.

Austria's Ramona Siebenhofer returned to the World Cup podium for only the second time in her career and the first time since December of 2015. She had two of the fastest training runs on the slope on Monday and Tuesday and was finally able to translate those lessons learned into her race performance. Siebenhofer regularly posts lead training times in downhill on the tour, so she was quite pleased to see a podium result in the race for the first time since the 2015/16 season. 

Val Gardena-Gröden took over the ladies' speed races originally scheduled in Val d'Isere (FRA) which were cancelled due to lack of snow there. The organiser has put in massive efforts to host the ladies on the speed track used annually for men's World Cup races, and the tour is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to race at the venue. Wednesday's super-G for the ladies will close out the extended week for the race organisers .

See the complete results from today's race here.