GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Viktoria Rebensburg mastered the Kandahar course on Saturday for her first career win in a women’s World Cup downhill.
Her victory came a week after the men’s race on the same hill was also won by a German skier, Thomas Dressen.
“This is something very special, a downhill victory here in Garmisch, with family and friends. It’s extremely nice to be on the top of the podium,” said Rebensburg, who lives in a village 70 kilometers (43 miles) away from the 2011 world championship resort.
After two months of rather disappointing results, which led to a fallout with the German ski federation, Rebensburg had a near-flawless run to beat Federica Brignone by 0.61 seconds.
The Italian’s third straight podium finish in a downhill helped her close the gap on leader Mikaela Shiffrin in the overall standings to 190 points. The American three-time overall champion is taking a break from ski racing since the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, last week.
“It is incredible for me. Today was a real downhill so I am very satisfied,” said Brignone, referring to the two previous downhills in Bulgaria where the course set resembled that of a super-G with many turns.
Ester Ledecka, the Czech athlete competing on both the Alpine skiing and snowboarding World Cup circuits, finished 0.83 behind in third.
Sofia Goggia of Italy and Switzerland’s Corinne Suter, who leads the discipline standings ahead of Shiffrin, placed fourth and fifth respectively.
The rest of the field, led by former World Cup downhill champion Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia, finished more than 1.5 seconds off the lead.
Rebensburg became the 10th different winner in the last 10 women’s downhills. The list also includes Shiffrin, who won in Bansko, Bulgaria, two weeks ago.
It was the German’s 19th career win and second of the season, after triumphing in a super-G at Lake Louise, Alberta, in December.
Rebensburg bounced back in impressive style after recording just three top-10 results in the 11 races since her win at Lake Louise.
In giant slalom, usually her strongest discipline, she has yet to get on a podium this season, which prompted the Alpine director of the German ski federation, Wolfgang Maier, to publicly criticize her training intensity in that discipline.
Rebensburg was congratulated by Maier after Saturday’s race, but said the two were planning an extensive conversation about the issue as soon as her race schedule would allow.
Rebensburg won Olympic gold in 2010 and three World Cup season titles, as well as silver at the 2019 world championship in giant slalom.
A super-G on the same course is scheduled for Sunday.
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