Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch solidified her Olympic favorite status by winning a World Cup downhill race in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Friday.
Americans Julia Mancuso and Stacey Cook posted top-10s for the second straight day after coming into the week with zero top-10s this season.
Hoefl-Riesch extended her World Cup overall and downhill leads by prevailing in 1 minute, 17.84 seconds. Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather was second, .31 behind, followed by Austrian Nicole Schmidhofer.
“The downhill globe is a big goal for me,” Hoefl-Riesch told The Associated Press of the trophy given to World Cup season champions. “The last years it was always impossible because Lindsey [Vonn] was so strong. I already was skiing strong in the last years, but there was never a chance, because I was not consistent enough on every single track like Lindsey.
“And of course I would love to win the Olympic downhill. That’s the biggest race in skiing.”
Cook was fifth, her best World Cup finish since her only two career World Cup podiums in Lake Louise, Alberta, in fall 2012.
Mancuso placed ninth after being seventh in a super-G on Thursday and fastest in a training run Wednesday.
This season has been a struggle for Mancuso, whose best finish in any World Cup race before Thursday was 12th. However, this season’s results have been very similar to four years ago, when Mancuso won two Olympic silver medals after not placing on the podium in any World Cup races.
She posted her best pre-Vancouver Olympic finish on Jan. 23, 2010, an eighth in a Cortina d’Ampezzo downhill.
The women race another downhill Saturday and a super-G Sunday.
Cortina d’Ampezzo Downhill
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:17.84
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 1:18.15
3. Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) 1:18.59
4. Lara Gut (SUI) 1:18.60
5. Stacey Cook (USA) 1:18.62
6. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 1:18.66
7. Tina Maze (SLO) 1:18.76
8. Daniela Merighetti (ITA) 1:18.89
9. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:18.95
10. Andrea Fischbacher (AUT) 1:19.01
15. Jacqueline Wiles (USA) 1:19.40
17. Laurenne Ross (USA) 1:19.43
25. Leanne Smith (USA) 1:19.66
40. Julia Ford (USA) 1:20.71