Italian skier Marta Bassino dominates World Cup downhill

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland -- Italian skier Marta Bassino used all her technical skills to dominate a women's World Cup downhill Saturday and claim her first win in the sport's fastest discipline.

Bassino, who is a giant slalom specialist and won the super-G world title last year, gained time on all her competitors in the twisting opening and final sections of the Mont Lachau course to finish 0.54 seconds ahead of teammate Federica Brignone.

Lara Gut-Behrami finished 1.11 behind in third as the Swiss star extended her lead in the overall standings over the absent Mikaela Shiffrin to 165 points.

Shiffrin is nursing a left knee injury and likely won't return to the circuit earlier than the second weekend of March for a GS and slalom in Sweden.

Bosnian skier Elvedina Muzaferija, a late starter wearing bib 28, earned her first career top-10 result by finishing fourth, 1.22 seconds behind Bassino.

"I'm really, really happy. It's my first win in downhill, so it's amazing," Bassino said. "I think I have done a great run. I have done everything that we have seen and analyzed [on] video."

Bassino had just one podium result from 37 previous World Cup downhill starts, when she finished runner-up at a race in Bulgaria four years ago.

She had already impressed in Friday's shortened downhill on the same course, when she started 21st and had a clean run to finish fifth.

Racing in spring-like temperatures on Saturday, Bassino was the fastest starter and posted the best times at the first two checkpoints. She didn't fully match the downhill specialists while gliding in the straighter middle section but had an unmatched pace again in the bottom part of the course.

"I think I managed to do the right turns in the right way and tried to be fast and to be confident with the snow," said Bassino, adding that starting early with bib 3 was an advantage.

"I think that helped a bit because the snow became a bit slow," she said.

Bassino became the sixth different winner in six downhills this season. Two more races are scheduled, over two weeks in Norway and at the season finals in Austria.

A day after winning Friday's race, Gut-Behrami added 60 more points to her season tally to overtake Sofia Goggia at the top of the downhill standings by 19 points.

Goggia won the downhill title the past three years but the Italian had to end her season prematurely after breaking two bones in her right leg in a training crash 12 days ago.

Gut-Behrami also tops the super-G and giant slalom rankings in a remarkable resemblance to the men's World Cup, where Swiss standout Marco Odermatt leads four different standings.