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Schimdhofer wins super-G in Garmisch, Goggia second on return

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Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) (AFP)

Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer won the weather-delayed women's super-G World Cup race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday as Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia claimed second on her return from a fractured ankle.

Schmidhofer, the reigning world super-G champion, clocked 1min 19.98sec down the Kandahar course after the start was pushed back an hour and a half by heavy snowfall.

"I am very happy about the win," beamed Schmidhofer.

"There was a long wait between the course inspection and the start.

"The course was perfect -- I just hope there won't be any more snow over night," she added, with one eye on Sunday's downhill.

Goggia, who won the downhill title in Pyeongchang last year, announced her return from injury in style by finishing just 0.23sec back, while Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami was third at 0.45.

"I am really happy, I only came here to test the ankle and I didn't know what was going to happen," said Goggia, after three months out with injury, who insisted on sitting during post-race interviews to rest her ankle.

"Training went well, so I decided to race.

"It wasn't about skiing fast, it was about skiing with a free head."

Having finished second in Garmisch last year behind US speed queen Lindsey Vonn, who currently has a knee injury, in both downhill races on the Kandahar, Goggia was an early leader before Schmidhofer bettered her.

America's Mikaela Shiffrin, the super-G and overall World Cup leader, is sitting out this weekend's races in Garmisch to prepare for the world championships which start in Are, Sweden, on February 5.

Goggia will have another shot at victory on her comeback in Sunday's downhill, scheduled to start at 1130 local time (1030 GMT), and said she is not thinking about the world championships -- yet.

"I am just focused on Sunday's downhill and taking it one day at a time," said Goggia, who gave a theatrical bow to her fans with a huge smile on her face after her run.

After four previous finishes on the podium, this was the first World Cup super-G victory for the 29-year-old Schmidhofer, who finishing second in the downhill last week in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

"I have been so close in the past, so I am really pleased," said Schmidhofer.

- Ledecka crashes out -

Several big names struggled on the 2.1km course. Ester Ledecka, the Olympic super-G champion, was the biggest casualty, crashing out after failing to judge the turn coming into the final straight.

"I was a bit too passive and didn't quite time my turn right and couldn't get through the gate," said Ledecka.

"I tried to correct it with all my might, which is when I fell, but I am okay."

The Czech achieved the feat of winning Olympic gold medals in both the snowboarding parallel giant slalom and skiing's super-G in Pyeongchang last year.

The 23-year-old has opted to ski at the world alpine championships from February 5-17 in Are, Sweden, even though it clashes with the world snowboard championships from February 1-10.

"In Are, I would like to start in the super-G, super combined and downhill," said Ledecka.

Local hero Viktoria Rebensburg also failed to finish, missing a gate after just about managing to control her balance in the middle of the course and could not hide her disappointment.

"Of course, it's a real pity, I really wanted to finish today, but that is skiing and I have to keep going," said the 29-year-old, the 2010 Olympic giant slalom champion.

"The truth is, I don't feel at ease in super-G and I need to fix that in training.

"I will look at the videos from how the others did in training, to see if they skied different lines and I'll try and do better tomorrow (in the downhill)."

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