Switzerland’s Lara Gut won the first World Cup downhill race of her career in France as Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn crashed. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal took the men’s super-G race in Italy.
Gut finished in a time of 1 minute, 19.75 seconds for her third victory on the World Cup circuit. The 21-year-old was the second skier down the 2,143-meter (7,031 feet) course in Val d’Isere, where the start gate had been lowered by 100 meters because of high winds.
“I was a bit worried and didn’t expect to stay in front, but it’s great,” Gut, whose previous two wins came in the super-G, told reporters.
Leanne Smith of the U.S. finished second, 0.16 seconds back, with Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer in third place.
Vonn, who’d won the first four speed events this season, caught an edge and crashed at the top of the course. She went through two layers of safety netting before being stopped by a third. After composing herself, she put her skis back on and made her own way down to the finish area.
Vonn, a 28-year-old American, was hospitalized with a stomach infection at the start of the season, which affected her stamina. After recovering, she won two downhill races and two super-G events.
Today’s race didn’t change the overall women’s World Cup standings. Tina Maze of Slovenia, who finished 11th, leads with 701 points. Double Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, 12th today, is second with 465 points.
Vonn, a four-time overall champion who was trying to become the first woman to win four downhill races in Val d’Isere, remains in third place with 414 points. She still leads the downhill standings by 14 points over fellow American Stacey Cook, who was ninth today, with Gut moving to third.
Svindal won his third World Cup event of the season with a dominating performance in the super-G in Val Gardena. His time of 1 minute, 36.95 seconds on the Saslong course was 1.07 seconds faster than Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia. Italian Werner Heel was third, 1.12 seconds behind.
Svindal, 29, continues to lead the overall World Cup standings with 540 points. Ted Ligety of the U.S., who finished in 20th place today, is second with 413 points. Svindal also tops the super-G standings.