La Thuile, Italy – After a third place on Friday, Nadia Fanchini surprised again as she raced to victory in a shortened downhill on Saturday in front of seven thousand cheering fans. The 29-year-old Italian timed 1:24.80 to edge out American Lindsey Vonn at the top of the timesheet. History’s most decorated female skier bounced back from yesterday’s frustration and finished just 0.14 seconds off the pace to secure her eighth globe in the discipline.
The Italian team had a strong showing as Daniela Merighetti hit the podium in third place, 0.72 seconds out.
The race was delayed by 15 minutes and the start lowered because of the wind.
It was Nadia Fanchini’s second career World Cup victory. Her first win dated back to December 2008.
“I had my last victory at Lake Louise,” Fanchini said. “Yesterday, I got third place. I never expected it, and I never believed I could race so wonderfully as I raced today. And in particular with Lindsey Vonn wanting to come back so hard. I never believed I would be on the podium. To tell you the truth, even a podium would have been enough today. Never thought I could win.”
Lindsey Vonn managed to hold the nerves as her main concern was actually to cross the finish line today.
“I couldn’t see the time, so I was a little confused about what place I was in, but you know, I was really happy,” Vonn confessed. “I kind of was more relieved that I made it down than really concerned about what place I was in and yeah, it was hard maybe to see my emotions, but I was definitely happy and relieved at the same time.”
With the second place and only one downhill race left on the calendar, the 31-year-old secured the downhill crystal globe, making it a total of 20 globes in her career.
“It’s nice to be able to get the World Cup globe before the finals and it was also good for my self-confidence,” Vonn admitted. “You know, I was a little bit unsure of myself after yesterday and it’s kind of hard sometimes to trust everything and I did that today. I charged. I attacked and it wasn’t perfect skiing, but I’m really happy with my second place. I’m also happy to be on the podium with two Italians in Italy. It’s really fun and everyone’s really excited. I think it’s really good for ski racing and I hope we come back and race here in La Thuile again.”
Daniela Merighetti had already announced that this season was going to be her last and was hoping for a good result today in order to be in the top 25 in the downhill standings and hence qualify for the finals.
“Yesterday, I cried at home,” Merighetti said. “Because I thought that today was my last race in downhill, but no. I’ll be in St. Moritz, too. I qualified for the finals. I am so happy and so proud.”
“It is fantastic to share the podium with Nadia Fanchini, one of my teammates. Like in Cortina, it’s always a pleasure to race at home. The crowd is so hot and it’s the first time in La Thuile, the organisation was perfect and the snow on the slope too, so it was impressive today.”
In the downhill standings, Vonn has 580 points and is trailed by Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw (407), who finished fourth on the day, 0.93 seconds back.
In the hunt for the overall, Vonn reclaims the lead with 1140 points as Lara Gut finished eleventh, 1.78 seconds out and is now 43 points behind.
The fifth super-G race of the season is scheduled for Sunday.