Ilka Štuhec won the women’s downhill race in Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo on 21 January for her tenth career World Cup victory, six of which she has clinched in downhill, her strongest discipline.
Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie came in second, 0.26 seconds behind Štuhec, and Italian Elena Curtoni was third, with a lag of 0.34 seconds.
After several seasons marred by setbacks and injuries, the 32-year-old Slovenian skier make a comeback this season and has been building up form since.
She finished second in the downhill in Switzerland’s St Moritz in December and repeated the feat in Cortina on 20 January despite skiing on an injured ankle. She had waited more than four years to win again.
“After four years and some more, I’m at the top again … I simply felt today was the day, that I was ready, that I knew exactly what to do, that all I needed to do was relax, attack and enjoy it, which added up in the end,” she said.
“I’d like to thank my support team, [ski producer] Kästle, my fans, everyone really who has stood by me when the whole world did not yet know I could be number one again,” she added.
Štuhec is second in the downhill rankings, 108 points behind Sofia Goggia, who crashed out at the latest race. In the overall standings the Slovenian jumped to tenth spot and has now 388 points, more than she scored in the past two seasons combined.
A giant slalom event is scheduled next. Štuhec won in this discipline in Cortina in January 2017.
Having notched up six downhill World Cup victories, Štuhec is now a Slovenian record holder in the discipline. Tina Maze won four downhill events, but she still holds a record 26 World Cup victories overall. Štuhec boasts 12 podium finishes in downhill, one more than Maze.
Recently, Štuhec parted ways with her Swiss coach Stefan Abplanalp and now her mother Darja Črnko is her head coach and the team head.
She seems confident ahead of the Alpine Ski World Championships in Courchevel Méribel in February. She was crowned world champion in downhill in 2017 and 2019.