Friday, January 16, 2015

Elena Fanchini Takes Victory in Cortina Downhill

Nine years after her maiden World Cup victory in Lake Louise, Italy's Elena Fanchini won the first of the two Downhill races scheduled in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Fog in the top section of the course forced the jury and organisers to lower the start. With 11 gates less to negotiate, the run was around 30 seconds shorter. Elena Fanchini clocked a time of 1:09.59, while Canada's Larisa Yurkiw came in second, just 0.15 seconds behind and Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg took third, 0.31 seconds out. Both benefited from a low bib number, as the visibility slightly deteriorated with more fog and even light snowfalls as the race went on.
The oldest of the Fanchini's sisters, with bib number 14, didn't find it disturbing and charged the 1900 meter long course flawlessly.
"Last night I watched the winning run of Isolde Kostner in 2001", said Fanchini. "She is the last Italian racer to have won one a downhill in Cortina and I tried to replicate her performance today. I am so happy it worked out (...) I have been through so many injuries in my career. My knees and my shoulders got hurt, but I am so passionate about the sport that it was impossible for me to even think to stop at any stage".
26-year-old Larisa Yurkiw raced to a fourth place last December in Lake Louise, which was her personal best performance so far in her career before this fantastic second place on Friday.
"I've worked very hard and always hoped for a result like this", she confessed. "You do your job and then you're rewarded. It doesn't always happen like that. I was a bit lucky with my bib today. I think that lots of things came together today and I did my job well".
As the only Canadian female downhiller, Larissa Yurkiw has had her own self-funded team since 2013. "It's a big step for Canadian speed skiing and for myself and my career", she explained. "We have a big cooperation with Sweden, Norway and Germany. We all need each other and it works really well. To share the podium with Rebensburg is special. We have really a good supportive team".
2010 Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg, landed her second career World Cup victory in downhill on Friday after the her second place in Val d'Isère last December.
"When I came into the finish, I thought my run wasn't that good, but in the end I end up third", she said. "That's just a great day for me and I am really happy about that (...) For me the visibility was ok. There was fog in the upper part but I think that was the case for everyone but then it cleared up. So overall the conditions were good for me and can't say anything about it"

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