SOLDEU, Andorra (AP)One year after almost quitting Alpine skiing in frustration, Ilka Štuhec was back at the peak of her form on Wednesday.
The two-time world champion completed her downhill season by beating Sofia Goggia, the season’s standout speed racer, for victory at the World Cup Finals.
Štuhec raced down the sun-bathed slope to finish 0.51 seconds ahead of Goggia, a five-time downhill winner this season who already secured the discipline title. Lara Gut-Behrami was third, 0.81 seconds back.
Štuhec added a second victory in an impressive season when she was also runner-up at two of Goggia’s victories. They were the 32-year-old Slovenian skier’s first podium finishes since retaining her world championship title in downhill in February 2019 in Are, Sweden.
“It means really a lot actually because this time last year I was thinking, should I continue? Should I quit? What should I do with my life?” Štuhec said. “Then I listened to my guts and I was like OK, I will change things and I will go on because I still had a feeling I could do it – and now everyone knows.”
Her past three seasons were affected by injuries and last April she split with the coach she worked with since 2019.
“It makes it fun again,” Štuhec said of her 11th career World Cup race win. “I am really enjoying it and I will definitely go on.”
Goggia’s season-long downhill title was the fourth in the past five seasons for the 2018 Olympic champion from Italy.
Elena Curtoni, one of only four racers to win a World Cup downhill this season, crashed Wednesday, as did Nina Ortlieb. They did not appear to be seriously injured.
Mikaela Shiffrin, the overall World Cup champion who won her record 87th career victory last weekend, did not compete in the downhill. She should return for the super-G on Thursday.
More AP skiing: https://apnews.com/hub/alpine-skiing and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports