Alpine Skiing

Mikaela Shiffrin claims first win of 2020 in Bansko downhill

American star triumphs in Bulgaria from Federica Brignone and Joana Haehlen as Olympic champion Sofia Goggia crashes out

By Rory Jiwani ·

Mikaela Shiffrin ended an unusually long winless streak, for her, with victory in the downhill at Bansko on Friday (24 January).

The American had not stood atop the podium since completing a giant slalom-slalom double at Lienz four weeks ago.

While known for her dominance of alpine skiing's technical disciplines, the double Olympic champion has shown she is more than competitive in speed events in the past.

And she clinched her second career World Cup downhill victory at the Bulgarian resort, just over two years after her first at Lake Louise, to take her World Cup win tally to 65.

Federica Brignone kept up her fine form this season with second place ahead of Switzerland's Joana Haehlen who secured her first World Cup podium finish.

Brignone's Italian team-mate, PyeongChang 2018 downhill gold medallist Sofia Goggia, crashed out but was quickly back on her feet after sliding into the safety netting.

Mikaela Shiffrin during her winning run in the World Cup downhill at Bansko, Bulgaria

Shiffrin back on top

The early starters found life tough on a course full of curves and undulations which gave the skiers little time to catch their breath, and favoured the more technical racers.

Reigning Olympic combined champion Michelle Gisin was first away and failed to make it down with Goggia also unable to complete the course.

Haehlen had been quickest in Thursday training, and she set the target.

Wearing start bib number 14, the Swiss went over a second quicker than previous leader Romane Miradoli with 1:30.02.

Starting 16th, Shiffrin was down on Haehlen at the second time check but skied the mid-section of the course superbly to go into the lead by 0.23s with a time of 1:29.79.

Two skiers later was Brignone who was very quick at the top and led Shiffrin at the first three time checks.

But she lost time on the bottom half and finished 0.18s outside the American's time in second place.

The top places were dominated by late starters with Elena Curtoni (start number 23) taking fourth ahead of fellow Italian Marta Bassino (31).

Shiffrin's main rival in the technical disciplines, Petra Vlhova, had her best World Cup downhill finish of sixth wearing start bib number 32.

This race replaced the downhill scheduled for Val d'Isere earlier in the season with a second Bansko downhill being held on Saturday followed a Super-G on Sunday.