Ledecka swoops for Lake Louise downhill win

Lake Louise (Canada) (AFP) –


Olympic snowboard and ski champion Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic stormed to a maiden World Cup downhill victory on Friday with a surprise win at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.

The 24-year-old Pyeongchang double gold medallist mastered challenging weather conditions to finish in 1min 31.87sec, ahead of Switzerland's Corinne Suter and Austria's Stephanie Venier.

American star Mikaela Shiffrin finished way down the field in 10th place.

Ledecka's win marked another remarkable milestone in her winter sports career.

In 2018 she made history by winning gold medals in both snowboarding and skiing at the same Olympic Games, scoring wins in the parallel giant slalom snowboarding event and the Super-G.

Friday's racing was disrupted after a return of heavy snow which forced a one-hour delay before racing got under way.

Suter appeared to be heading towards her first downhill win after clocking 1:32.22 in the 15th bib to take the lead from Austria's Venier, who set the early pace with a time of 1:32.32.

However, Ledecka, starting 26th in the order, had other ideas, producing a near-flawless display to shave 0.35sec off Suter's time to take the lead.

US star Shiffrin, meanwhile, the three-time overall World Cup champion who posted a dominant victory at last week's World Cup slalom at Killington, could only finish in 10th place with a time of 1:32.83.

That was good enough to extend her lead at the top of the overall World Cup standings however. Shiffrin leads with 366 points ahead of Switzerland's Michelle Gisin, who is second with 160 points.

Gisin, who was 19th in Friday's downhill, leads third placed Petra Vlhova of Slovakia who has 138 points.

The racing continues at Lake Louise on Saturday with a second downhill before Sunday's women's Super-G.