Swiss racer Corinne Suter wins world downhill gold

Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy) (AFP) –


Corinne Suter upstaged Swiss teammate Lara Gut-Behrami to win the downhill gold at the world ski championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami had beaten Suter into silver in winning Thursday's super-G, but she was powerless in the face of the latter's display down the 2.7km-long Olympia delle Tofana course in brilliant sunshine.

Suter, wearing bib number seven, clocked 1min 34.27sec, finishing 0.20sec ahead of Germany's Kira Weidle, with Gut-Behrami rounding out the podium in third (+0.37), her seventh world championship medal.

"This is a dream on two skis!" bellowed the on-slope commentators inbetween piped-in airhorns and dance music as Suter purred down the course.

Hitting motorway-cruising speeds of 120km/h (75 mph), Suter laid down a near faultless run, while a host of rivals paid a costly price for the smallest of mistakes.

Gut-Behrami had led on the split times all the way down the piste, but inexplicably lost valuable tenths of a second in the final stretch.

Suter, winner of the World Cup downhill crystal globe last season, also claimed silver in the blue riband event at the Are world champs in 2019.

Two-time defending world champion Ilka Stuhec also looked to be pushing for at least a podium, the Slovenian overcoming an ankle injury in her bid for a third gold, but saying goodbye to that thought when she overcompensated on one turn halfway down the course.

There was also more frustration for reigning Olympic super-G champion Ester Ledecka, who made history in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games by also winning gold in a snowboarding event.

The Czech code-hopper eventually finished fourth, at 0.44sec, as she also did in the super-G.

American Breezy Johnson failed to capitalise on her World Cup form, which had seen her nail four consecutive third-place downhill spots.

She made an error high up the course and despite her valiant efforts to make up for it, could only come in ninth (+0.90) as the top 10 racers all came within a second of Suter's winning time.