Italy's Goggia wins first World Cup downhill of season

Lake Louise (Canada) (AFP) – Sofia Goggia made a statement Friday, launching defence of her alpine World Cup downhill title with an emphatic victory in the first women's downhill of the season at Lake Louise.


Goggia, who is aiming to defend her Olympic downhill gold at Beijing in February, clocked 1min 46.95sec to beat American Breezy Johnson by a whopping 1.47sec.

Mirjam Puchner of Austria was third, 1:54sec behind the winner, while US star Mikaela Shiffrin made a lackluster return to speed events with the 26th-fastest time - 3.60sec adrift.

"I knew I could win, but at the same time I didn't think it would be by one second and a half," said Goggia, who notched the ninth downhill victory of her career and her 12th World Cup win overall.

At some points, she said, she had to fight to maintain her form because "my skis were maybe to fast for me."

Goggia was denied a chance to compete in the World Championships on home snow in Cortina d'Ampezzo last year because of a knee injury.

She had been slated to return for the final World Cup downhill of the season in March. Excessive snowfall saw that race cancelled, but Goggia was leading the discipline at the time and captured the downhill globe.

Goggia had signalled she was ready for the season when she topped the training times at Lake Louise, where the women are contesting their first speed events of the season with two downhills and a super-G.

And the Italian said she thought she could improve for Saturday's second downhill.

"For sure I'm going to analyze the video," she said. "I think I can ski a little bit better in some parts."

Italy's Sofia Goggia wins the women's alpine World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Canada
Italy's Sofia Goggia wins the women's alpine World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Canada Patrick T. FALLON AFP

Shiffrin, who was coming off the record-equalling 46th World Cup slalom victory of her career at Killington, Vermont, last weekend, will certainly be looking for improvement.

Shiffrin maintained her lead in the overall World Cup standings, but starting in the 31st spot she never threatened the podium.

The American was competing in her first World Cup speed event since January of 2020, although she did capture super-G bronze at the World Championships in February.