World champion Vincent Kriechmayr showed his class as he conquered the icy conditions to win the downhill in Bormio on Wednesday, the 14th World Cup of his career.
The Austrian beat Canadian James Crawford by 0.40 seconds with Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde coming home third, 0.68sec behind the winner.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
The top three were the only ones to master the ‘Stelvio’, a long descent with a pernicious, icy coating.
Overall leader Marco Odermatt came in fourth, a massive 1.46sec behind, one of only 14 skiers to finish within three seconds of the winner.
Kriechmayr, the reigning downhill and Super-G world champion, produced a dazzling display, racing down the course with a fluidity and balance that his fellow competitors could only dream about on the long, icy curves of Bormio.
He has won two of the five downhill races so far this season, his other victory coming at Val Gardena two weeks ago.
“It is fantastic to have the toughest race behind me, I made a good run. I tried to keep pushing from the start to the end and it worked really well,” said Kriechmayr.
“There are so many good athletes at the start, and it is not easy to beat them. I tried to keep pushing every metre and every turn so it is nice to win this race.”
Kilde, the reigning World Cup downhill and super-G champion, has won the other three downhills contested this winter. His third place finish gave him a sixth podium in nine races this season.
Crawford, meanwhile, again confirmed his talent with a superb run which produced the third podium of his career and improved on his third-place finish in the downhill at Beaver Creek earlier this season.
“I have been putting down runs all year that I feel are at the highest quality I can muster,” said the 25-year-old Canadian.
“I feel like the consistency is coming and with that the results. I am really happy I was able to show what I am capable of on such a tough day.”
Crawford admitted he had enjoyed the tough conditions in Italy.
“I prefer slopes like this than the easier snow. Here it is a lot about grit and willingness to push yourself. For me, I have never had an issue with stuff like this so when I get on snow like this, it feels a bit more natural.”
Odermatt leads the overall standings, 261 points ahead of Kilde who still tops the discipline standings.
The skiers will be back on the snow on Thursday with a super-G in the Italian resort.