Downhill teammate in awe of Corinne Suter after 1st World Cup victory
World silver medallist from Switzerland wins by 0.29 seconds, tops season standings
Corinne Suter's consistent year in downhill racing finally earned her a first World Cup win on Saturday in Altenmarkt, Austria.
Suter defied poor visibility in a race twice delayed to finish 0.29 seconds ahead of Nicol Delago. Suter's Swiss teammate Michelle Gisin was third, 0.98 back, two weeks after also placing third in a World Cup slalom.
"I was just in awe watching her down in the finish," Gisin said of Suter's run immediately after her own. "That's really cool."
Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was fourth, 1.01 back, starting immediately after the second delay for fog.
Mikaela Shiffrin, the overall World Cup standings leader, skipped Saturday's race. She could start in an Alpine combined event Sunday when Gisin, the Olympic champion, will also be favoured.
Roni Remme of Collingwood, Ont., was top Canadian in 42nd with a time of 1:22.32. Marie-Michèle Gagnon Lac-Etchemin, Que., was 47th of 54 finishers in 1:22.77.
Suter's first top-tier race victory was predicted after being among the most reliable downhill racers over the last year.
She won a silver medal at the world championships last February, when Lindsey Vonn took bronze in her career farewell, then finished the World Cup season with two third-place finishes.
The 25-year-old Swiss was second and fifth in the two previous downhills this season, both held at Lake Louise, Canada.
Attacking on an overcast day, Suter mastered the Altenmarkt course despite clocking only the seventh-best speed of 125 kilometres per hour (78 mph) at the fastest check.
Suter now leads the season-long downhill standings from Ester Ledecka. The double Olympic champion in Alpine super-G and snowboarding placed eighth Saturday.
Without the now-retired Vonn, the United States speed team is still looking for consistency.
Breezy Johnson, in her comeback race, Alice McKennis and Jacqueline Wiles finished bunched from 25th to 27th places. Johnson was making her first World Cup start in almost two years after a series of knee injuries.