Gut-Behrami wins downhill to move atop World Cup standings, Canada's Gagnon finishes career-best 7th
Swiss skier earns narrow victory at event in Italy
Coming off a performance that included two golds and three medals overall at the skiing world championships, Lara Gut-Behrami now has another title — overall World Cup leader.
Gut-Behrami finished a slim 0.02 seconds ahead of Ramona Siebenhofer on the sun-drenched Val di Fassa course.
Recently crowned world champion Corinne Suter finished third, 0.26 behind, to gain precious points in her pursuit of downhill standings leader Sofia Goggia, who is out injured.
WATCH | Gut-Behrami tops the field at World Cup downhill event:
Vlhova finished ninth and now trails Gut-Behrami by 29 points in the overall standings, which she had led since November.
Marie-Michèle of Lac-Etchemin, Que., coming off a sixth-place finish in super G at the world championships, finished in seventh for a career-best result.
"Today was a very positive result, my best result in downhill in my career," Gagnon said after her race. "I know I can do more, so there is a fire burning."
Gagnon, 31, has five top-15 finishes this season including a podium in super-G in Garmisch earlier this year.
WATCH | Canada's Gagnon continues strong alpine season:
Conditions on the San Pellegrino Pass, which was making its debut on the World Cup circuit, were spring-like as the temperature soared to nearly 10 C.
It was Gut-Behrami's 31st career World Cup victory and fourth straight speed win on the circuit. It was also her first downhill win this season, to go with her four World Cup victories in super-G.
At the worlds in nearby Cortina, Gut-Behrami — who lives in Italy — collected gold in super-G and giant slalom and bronze in downhill.
Siebenhofer, an Austrian, collected three fifth-place finishes at the worlds — in downhill, combined and GS.
Gut-Behrami trailed Siebenhofer at the final two checkpoints but made up time on the bottom of the Volata course.
Kira Weidle, a German who won silver in the downhill at the worlds, finished fourth, while Breezy Johnson of the United States came fifth to drop into a tie for second in the downhill standings with Suter.
Goggia is 150 points ahead of both Suter and Johnson, with Gut-Behrami 197 points behind and also still with a chance to overtake the Italian.
Two more downhills remain this season — another race in Val di Fassa on Saturday then one more event at the finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, next month.
Wins are worth 100 points each.
"I don't look at the standings at the moment," said Suter, who won both the downhill and super-G World Cup titles last season. "I want to ski fast. This is what counts for me."
The weekend concludes with a super-G on Sunday.
With files from CBC Sports