PyeongChang absentee Stuhec claims Val Gardena double

Ilka Stuhec made it two wins in 24 hours in the Super-G as fellow Slovenian Zan Kranjec took the men's giant slalom in Austria.

Slovenian skier Ilka Stuhec claimed the ladies' Super-G at Val Gardena on Wednesday to complete a quick World Cup double in Italy.

Liechtenstein's Olympic bronze medallist Tina Weirather and Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer were both five-hundredths behind to share second place.

There was more joy for Slovenia as Zan Kranjec scored his first World Cup win in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm giant slalom in Austria.

It was a a rare off-day for home favourite and double Olympic champion Marcel Hirscher who could only finish sixth.

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Stuhec missed the 2018 season, including February's PyeongChang Olympics, after tearing a cruciate knee ligament in training 14 months ago.

The 2017 downhill world champion returned to World Cup action at the end of November, finishing sixth in her first race back in Lake Louise downhill.

But she was left disappointed after making the top 10 just once in her next three races in Canada.

A regular fixture on the men's circuit, Val Gardena hosted the women for the first time after a lack of snow forced a switch from France's Val d'Isere resort.

And the 28-year-old scored her first win since returning from injury in Tuesday's downhill.

Ilka Stuhec reacts to her winning run in the Val Gardena downhill
Ilka Stuhec reacts to her winning run in the Val Gardena downhillIlka Stuhec reacts to her winning run in the Val Gardena downhill

Speaking after that downhill victory, Stuhec said, "I had very high goals when I started racing again. But that also meant that I put a lot of pressure on myself.

"It's really emotional because it's been a very, very long time since I won. And over the last year a lot of things were very different than I was planning."

And to show she's back to her best, Stuhec took the Super-G ahead of Weirather and 2017 Super-G world champion Schmidhofer.

That despite a mistake at the top of the hill which led to her being "surprised when I saw that I was fastest".

"I focused on the start a lot and then I leaned too much to the left and almost fell over."

Jasmine Flury of Switzerland was fourth, missing out on the podium by just one-hundredth of a second.

Mikaela Shiffrin skipped Val Gardena to rest ahead of this weekend's technical World Cup events in Courcheval, France.

Kranjec makes his mark

Zac Kranjec became the first Slovenian man to win a World Cup giant slalom in Saalbach.

After 18 consecutive GS podium finishes, seven-time World Cup overall champion Marcel Hirscher had a poor second run which left him in fourth with four skiers to go.

The first of those was Kranjec who moved into the lead.

Switzerland's Loic Meillard failed to beat his time, guaranteeing Kranjec just his second career podium.

Zan Kranjec on his way to victory in the Saalbach giant slalom
Zan Kranjec on his way to victory in the Saalbach giant slalomZan Kranjec on his way to victory in the Saalbach giant slalom

Home hopes lay with Manuel Feller after Hirscher's disappointment, but he lost a ski.

First-run leader Matts Olsson had a lead of over half a second on Kranjec, but he missed a gate to hand the 26-year-old a surprise victory.

Meillard was second ahead of France's Mathieu Faivre.

Hirscher will be hoping to return to form in Thursday's slalom.

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