Puchner claims surprise St. Moritz downhill win
Mirjam Puchner sealed her first FIS World Cup victory in the final downhill race of the season in St. Moritz on Wednesday.
There were no crystal globes up for grabs in the Swiss Alps with the injured Lindsey Vonn having already wrapped up the downhill title and Lara Gut crowned overall champion for the first time.
Puchner had never even stood on the podium in a World Cup event, but the Austrian whistled down in one minute 40.93 seconds under grey skies to claim a surprise victory.
Fabienne Suter had to settle for second spot for a fifth time this season and was also runner-up in the downhill standings after finishing just 0.13secs slower than Puchner, with Italian Elena Curtoni only 0.17secs back in third place.
Puchner completed the quickest training run on Tuesday and was stunned after bettering her previous best downhill finish this season of eighth in emphatic fashion.
"I'm speechless, my goal today was to finish in the top 10, so I am overwhelmed," said Puchner.
"I had it a little easier since I started earlier. The light definitely got harder as the race went on. It was a great atmosphere today in St. Moritz, I am really looking forward to the World Championships next year."
Gut could only finish 13th on a course which slowed considerably, while Vonn was on hand to collect her eighth downhill globe after Peter Fill had won the men's title earlier in the day.
"It's a little bittersweet for me today," said the American. "Naturally I'm really happy to win the globe, but to watch as a spectator and not race is really hard."