Bad Kleinkirchheim (Austria) (AFP) - Italian women scored an unprecedented World Cup triple on Sunday in a shortened downhill raced on deteriorating snow in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria.
Sofia Goggia won in 1min 4sec with Federica Brignone second, 1.10sec back, and Nadia Fanchini at 1.45sec. The podium sweep followed Brignone's victory in the Super G the day before to give the Italian women a glorious weekend in Austria.
The surface had been much criticised, notably by the American Lindsey Vonn who slammed a "badly prepared" snow and a bumpy surface that turned races into a "rodeo."
Sunday's downhill was shortened, starting from the same place as the Super-G the day before, but despite the curtailed length there were huge time gaps between the finishers.
Goggia, the boldest on the day, finished more than a second ahead of Brignone for a third career World Cup victory. The first two came last year in the downhill and Super-G at Jeongseon on the piste that will be used in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
"I'm really happy with my descent," said the 25-year-old. "You never know how it's going to be. I just let the skis slide. I was tired of just finishing the races. Today I was the most daring. The Goggia style worked!"
"With the condensation freezing on the glasses, it was very difficult, very demanding," said Goggia, before paying tribute to teammate Nadia Fanchini, who has fought back from a series of injuries and whose older sister, Elena, announced on Friday that she was taking a break from skiing to have a tumour treated.
"After all that she overcame, it's beautiful, it's as beautiful as a victory, I told her, 'it's your victory!'"
Brignone, whose best event has been the giant slalom, was delighted with her success in the speed events over the weekend.
"I'm really surprised, very surprised," she said.
The sparkling form of the Italians could not be better timed as the women's World Cup moves across the Alps to Cortina d'Ampezza in the Dolomites next week for two downhills and a Super-G.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was fifth to take over first place in the downhill standings from the American Mikaela Shiffrin, who drops to fourth after taking the weekend off to train.
However, Shiffrin still has an unassailable lead in the overall classification.