Italy's Sofia Goggia wins women's World Cup downhill race, Canada's Gagnon 10th

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VAL D'ISERE, FRANCE — Italian skier Sofia Goggia claimed her first World Cup downhill victory in almost two years and Canadian Marie-Michèle Gagnon posted a career-best result of 10th on Saturday.

A day after finishing second to Switzerland's Corinne Suter on the same hill in the season-opening women's downhill, Goggia turned the tables to edge Suter by .24 seconds.

Goggia's last World Cup downhill victory was in February 2019 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

"I came down and I thought, ‘this was not enough to win,’” Goggia said. “Yesterday, I really had an attacking behaviour and it was really more like wild skiing.

"I have to find a balance: same attacking style like yesterday, same technical skills like today.”

Kajsa Vickhoff Lie of Norway placed third.

Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., was the lone Canadian racing Saturday. The 31-year-old moved up the rankings from 18th on Friday.

“Today was a great performance for me, my best in the downhill," Gagnon said. “I’ve been consistently fast and solid on my skies and comparing myself to the girls who are winning right now and being right in there.”

The first women's speed races of the season Dec. 5-6 were cancelled when heavy snow and high winds wiped out a pair of super-G events in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Gagnon will be joined by Canadian teammates Valérie Grenier of Mont-Tremblant, Que., and Toronto's Candace Crawford in Sunday's super-G in Val d'Isere.

Goggia's victory was the eighth of her career. The reigning Olympic champion in women's downhill prevailed Saturday because of her superior handling of risky turns on a steep section of the course.

Organizers had slightly adapted a tricky curve at the bottom of the course where four racers crashed into the safety netting Friday.

Austria’s Nicole Schmidhofer suffered a potentially season-ending left knee injury, while two other racers who crashed — defending overall champion Federica Brignone of Italy and Alice McKennis Duran of the United States — opted not to start on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2020.

The Canadian Press