Merighetti Wins Cortina Downhill


Italian Daniela Merighetti claimed her maiden World Cup victory at the age of 30 when she won the women's downhill here on Saturday.

Merighetti timed 1min 33.17sec in sunny but windy conditions, 0.21sec ahead of American three-time World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn, with Germany's defending World Cup title holder Maria Hoefl-Riesch making up the podium at 0.40sec.

The Italian, who has overcome a string of injuries, including a fractured tibia, three ruptured knee ligaments, two dislocated shoulders, and some spectacular falls, won here despite racing with a splint on her left thumb, broken in the Bad Kleinkirchheim super-G last week.

"I have a special sensation with this course," Merighetti said.

"Finally it's been my day. It's wonderful because I've won in front of my fans and my family. And it makes me even more proud to be on the podium alongside Vonn and Riesch."

Austria's Elisabeth Goergl, winner of the Bad Kleinkirchheim downhill, could only finish in eighth spot in a disappointing outing for the so-called 'wunder team', with Andrea Fischbacher coming in 11th and Anna Fenninger not finishing.

Vonn said although it had been clear, the wind had been difficult to deal with.

"I'm really happy with the race," she said. "It was tough conditions out there. It was really windy and we had to ski well and also have a little bit of luck, and it could have gone either way.

"It could have been a lot worse, so second place is a solid result."

She added: "The problem at the start was that the wind was swirling and I couldn't even see the first gate, so I was kind of laughing to myself.

"I thought I skied well. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite enough for the win. Second place is a really solid result given the conditions."

Racing continues on Sunday with the super-G.