Monday, January 18, 2016

Cortina d'Ampezzo Races

Cortina d'Ampezzo and the "Olympia delle Tofane" piste are ready  to host the World Cup Downhill and Super G races.
The Ladies' Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup continues next weekend in Cortina d'Ampezzo with two events. Cortina Classic Races kicks off with the Downhill on Saturday followed by the SG on Sunday. The races will take place on the marvellous Olimpia delle Tofane slope. One of the most spectacular settings on the World Cup, surrounded by the jagged Dolomites and atop a gorgeous town where high-end clothing stores are intermixed with ancient stone churches, the Olympia della Tofane downhill course starts at an elevation of 2,320 meters and the Super G begins at 2,160. The finish area sits at 1,560 meters.

Cortina d’Ampezzo made its debut on the FIS World Cup with Men’s Downhill in 1969 and became a fixture on the Women’s Downhill tour for three years beginning in 1975. After a long hiatus, the venue has been an annual stop on the Women’s World Cup since 1993, hosting downhill, Super G and Giant Slalom, which is not on the line-up since 2011 but will be back in 2017.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the most charming ski resorts in Italy. Located near the north-eastern border with Austria, and surronded by the imposing peaks of the Tofana, the Monte Cristallo and the Sorapis Dolomites, Cortina is known as the "Regina delle Dolomiti". The resort is part of the Dolomiti Superski Ski Paradise. The Dolomiti Superski pass is one of the world’s largest lift pass areas with over 1200 kilometres of maintained pistes served by nearly 500 lifts on one ticket. Cortina offers, with the purchase of a Valley Skipass, the chance to ski in the skiing area Cortina d'Ampezzo, Auronzo-Misurina and San Vito di Cadore with a total of 140 kilometres of pistes served by 51 lifts and linked by buses. Snowmaking was increased to cover 95 per cent of the slopes.
Recently, Cortina d'Ampezzo was selected as one of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Alpine Ski Resorts:by the CNN.
Cortina d'Ampezzo is one of the twelve resorts belonging to the european association "Best of the Alps", which get together the most exclusive and well known destinations in the Big Five Europe's Alpine countries.

The FIS Ski World Cup races occurs along the Olympia delle Tofane: a name loaded of history and glory. A slope that reminds the splendour of the VII Winter Olympic Games in 1956. From January 26th to February 5th of that year, the most beautiful pages of winter sport history have been written. The Austrian ace Anton Sailer won, first in the history, all the races in the program, that time only three: downhill, slalom and giant slalom. Cortina reminds the 60th anniversary of the Olympic Games and the long history of the ski in Ampezzo valley started in 1901 with the first competition. A crescendo of international events: in 1941 the World Championships, downgraded cause of the Second World War, and in 1956 the Olympic Games. In 1954 the Cortina Ski Club organized the downhill “Coppa Ilio Colli” to commemorate its young athlete, prematurely passed away in Madesimo. This international race took place along the years until 1969 when it began to be part of the World Cup barely instituted. At the beginning the men and later, since 1975, the ladies until 1984. Cortina started again in 1990 with the replacement of two men downhills: in the first of two the local Kristian Ghedina triumphed for his first victory in the World Cup. An organizational and sport success that persuaded Cortina to get back where the history was interrupted: since 1993 to nowadays, new races have been added and records have been defeated. The Olympia delle Tofane welcomed five races in eight days in 1993, four consecutive took place in 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2014. The greatest champions have been glorified along this unique slope. The Queen of the Queens is Lindsey Vonn ready to compete again in this 2016 edition to be part of history, to be a legend.

That black and white image, a bit grainy, of Toni Sailer whizzing next to the Pomedes rock is in the history of skiing. 1956 Olympic Games in Cortina: for the first time the world could see, thanks to the pioneering television coverage of Rai - Italian Television, the beauty of the Olympia delle Tofane slope. If it were not for the speed that puts fear, this track seems a fairy road drawn between firs and larches on the slope leading down from the Middle Tofana. But the history has written several of its pages on this snow, from the early successes of Anne Marie Moser Proell in the Seventies, until the magic of Lindsey Vonn in recent seasons. All true champions have enhanced themselves on the Olympia delle Tofane, from Picabo Street, to Katja Seizinger, to Renate Goetschl, to finally our Isolde Kostner, because on this slope the athletes can make the difference. It requires courage, technique, talent and strategy to win here. From the start, to the wall of Pomedes, to the curves on the Diagonal, to the dip in Scarpadon, until the gentle slope of Rumerlo you can find speed. The real danger is to be distracted by the beauty of the mountains ahead, Cristallo and Faloria. But for those who start to win there is no time to look around. The Olympia delle Tofane levers the breath, asks a lot to the athletes but also grants spectacle.

2015 Races

Last year, 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.

After first’s shortened Downhill, the ladies got to race from the top on Sunday 18th in stunning conditions. With bib 20, USA's Lindsey Vonn needed "a couple of turns to figure out the snow" but then charged down the Olympia delle Tofane course to finally set the time to beat in 1:39.61. Running with bib 22, Austria's Elisabeth Görgl was the fastest in the top two sections but made a small mistake in the lower part and crossed the finish line in second position, 0.32 seconds back. Italian veteran Daniela Merighetti, who won her first and only World Cup race in Cortina Dowhnhill in 2012, rounded out the podium, 0.54 seconds off the pace.
With her 32nd career World Cup win in downhill earned on the day, Lindsey Vonn equalled Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll's all-time record of 62 World Cup victories, across all disciplines.

And after equalling the record of World Cup victories on Sunday, Lindsey Vonn didn't have to wait long to break it. The American mastered the super-G race on Monday to earn her 63rd career win. With bib number 22, Vonn clocked 1:27.03 down the Olympia delle Tofane course.
Austria's Anna Fenninger finished second, 0.85 seconds off the pace and Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was third, 0.92 back.

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