Alpine skiing-Frenchman Allegre claims World Cup win after eight years of trying

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Downhill - Kitzbuehel, Austria - January 20, 2024 France's Nils Allegre in action REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

(Reuters) - French Alpine skier Nils Allegre celebrated a surprise first World Cup win, and first podium appearance in eight years of trying, after a weather-affected super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday.

The 30-year-old's previous highest placings were two fourths, one of them in a super-G on the German resort's Kandahar piste in 2021.

"What happened? I don't know," said the stunned skier, who started with bib number 18 in his 102nd World Cup race, as the victory sank in.

"I had a very good feeling on the salty snow," he added of a soft piste injected with water and salt. "I know my skis are one of the best in these conditions."

Continuing the surprises, Italian Guglielmo Bosca -- also 30 - finished second and 0.18 slower for his first World Cup podium in an injury-hit career that started in 2016.

Switzerland's Loic Meillard was third and overall World Cup leader and compatriot Marco Odermatt fourth, ending his run of 12 successive super-G podiums but stretching his lead in the discipline's standings.

On the women's side, Norwegian veteran and 2018 Olympic silver medallist Ragnhild Mowinckel started 20th and took her first downhill World Cup win in the Italian resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

U.S. skier Jacqueline Wiles was second and 0.35 slower, the 31-year-old's first podium finish since she was third in January 2018 on the same slope, with home favourite and downhill World Cup leader Sofia Goggia third.

"This is absolutely crazy. It has been a long tine coming with a lot of injuries over the last five or six years," said Wiles, whose compatriot and overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin was absent after falling in Friday's race.

U.S. skier Isabella Wright also crashed on Saturday, without serious injury but causing a delay in a race that was also affected by strong winds.

The piste is the same one that will host the women's downhill at Italy's Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympics.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)

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