Impressive Italian double in the Crans-Montana downhill
Sofia Goggia won the Crans-Montana downhill in style, narrowly beating an impressive Federica Brignone, and a surprise Laura Gauché from France in third place . The top Swiss, Joana Hählen, finished 5th.
The Italians feel almost at home in Crans-Montana. On Sunday, they showed that they are very comfortable on the Mont Lachaux piste. The day after the Valais downhill was postponed due to fog and soft snow conditions, the conditions on Sunday were better for the race, even if it was initially delayed due to reduced visibility and a bit of snow. In the end, the downhill race was held on a piste in excellent condition, and it was won by Sofia Goggia.
The overall favourite from Bergamo took all the risks to win her 22nd World Cup title, her fourth in Crans-Montana. This could be a decisive step towards winning the crystal globe for the downhill, since her main competitor Ilka Stuhec ‘only’ finished in 9th place, and is 179 points behind, with only two downhills to go until the end of the season. It was another Italian who almost deprived the 2018 Olympic champion of her win. In the end, Federica Brignone finished only 0.15 behind Sofia Goggia. She is comfortable on the Mont Lachaux piste in a resort she loves, and this is her 7th podium finish in the Valais resort, her first in the downhill. After a difficult start to the season, the recent world Combined champion has confirmed that she is back at her top level.
Laura Gauché’s third place was a surprise. This is the first podium place in 111 World Cup races for the French 27-year-old. She was very fluid on a piste that held up perfectly, and finished 0.41 behind the day’s winner. Starting with bib number 26, she deprived Ragnhild Mowinckel of a second consecutive podium on the Haut-Plateau, beating her by 0.02.
These performances deprived the Swiss of a top 3 finish in front of their home crowd, who once again turned out in large numbers. Joana Hählen, who had no hesitation in attacking the course from beginning to end, finished 5th, less than two tenths away from 3rd place. One year after her fantastic win, Priska Nufer took 6th place (+0.65). The Valais course suits Swiss athletes well, as Michelle Gisin took a nice 8th place (+0.72).
However Lara Gut-Behrami didn’t have as much success, finishing 13th, at 0.89. Méribel world champion Jasmine Flury was less than perfect when negotiating some sections, so had to settle for 17th place, with +1.21. Finally, Corinne Suter and Delia Durrer finished further behind.
DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana/Frédéric Dubuis & Agence Zoom