CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — With just two weeks to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, two-time Truckee Olympian Stacey Cook posted her best World Cup finish of the season Friday with fifth in the first of two downhills slated for Cortina.
Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley also showed her speed with a ninth-place finish, while young gun Jackie Wiles stormed from bib 41 to finish 15th for the first World Cup points of her career.
German Maria Hoefl-Riesch won for her third victory of the season, boosting her World Cup downhill and overall points lead.
Overnight snow delayed the start a half hour and forced the jury to lower the race start to the top of the famed Tofana Schuss, the same location as the previous day’s super G.
“I generally do OK when there are straight shots out of the gate like that,” Cook said. “So that was a little confidence booster to kick out of the gate, get on my skis and not have to do too much and then get into it. And then I just tried to not ski a perfect line but ski perfect body position and really attack. And it seems to have been fast.”
Laurenne Ross also posted a season-best result in 17th, and Leanne Smith finished inside the downhill points in 25th.
The U.S. Ski Team will nominate their Olympic alpine team on Jan. 26 following competitions in both Cortina and Kitzbuehel.