Alpine skiing: Weather forces three-day wipeout at world championships

·2 min read
FIS Alpine Ski World Championships

CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (Reuters) - The Alpine skiing world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo suffered a three-day wipeout after fog forced the postponement of Tuesday's women's super-G and Wednesday's men's Combined was called off.

Heavy snow in the Italian Dolomites had already forced the postponement for a week of Monday's opening women's Combined.

The championships in the resort that will be co-hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics with Milan are being held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Tomorrow we have a weather forecast with 20cm (of snow) and we decided to cancel all the race and training," said Cortina 2021 race director Alberto Ghezze.

The women were kept waiting on Tuesday as fog shrouded the upper parts of the Olympia delle Tofane piste, despite sunshine at the finish, with the race director deciding to lower the start to the Duca d'Aosta refuge.

Even that proved impossible and, an hour and half after the race had been due to start, the decision was taken to reschedule to Thursday -- ahead of the men's super-G already postponed from Tuesday.

Weather conditions are forecast to improve then.

"The lowered start at the Duca d’Aosta refuge would have distorted the race a little," said Italian Marta Bassino, who had been due to start first.

"It was a really tough day, long and mentally demanding, but in the end it's good that it went like this. The temperatures will drop and the track will become more icy. Now we start from scratch.

"The rest day on Wednesday will be useful."

The women's race will be the first super-G in more than a year for defending world champion Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, who took time out after the death of her father and has focused solely on technical disciplines this season.

Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami is the favourite, however, after winning the last four World Cup super-Gs in a row.

The men's Alpine Combined, consisting of a super-G and a slalom, will now also take place on Monday, Feb. 15 with times to be announced.

The women's and men's downhills remain scheduled for Saturday and Sunday respectively before the technical disciplines next week.

The speed events, which are more vulnerable to weather conditions, take place in the opening week to allow time for rescheduling.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond, Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)