France's Ingrid Jacquemod upstaged the favorites Friday to win a downhill for the first World Cup victory in her nine-year career.
The race was originally scheduled for Jacquemod's hometown of Val d'Isere but moved to the site of the upcoming world championships due to a blizzard at the French resort last month.
"Maybe it was better that they moved the races from Val d'Isere," said Jacquemod, who wears the name of her hometown on her helmet.
The 26-year-old covered the newly inaugurated Deborah Compagnoni course in 1 minute, 40.29 seconds.
Defending downhill World Cup champion Renate Goetschl of Austria, still seeking her first victory this season, finished second, a narrow 0.11 seconds behind.
"That's sports, what can I do?" Goetschl said of her winless streak. "You can't always win."
Another Frenchwoman, Carole Montillet-Carles, took third, just 0.12 seconds back.
"It's great to have two French skiers on the podium," Jacquemod said.
Lindsey Kildow of the US finished fourth, 0.44 seconds behind, and kept her lead atop the downhill standings.
Kildow said she suffered from a stomach illness.
``Fourth is OK. I'm still leading the standings, but coming in fourth is like being the first loser,'' Kildow said of missing the podium by one place.
Michaela Dorfmeister, winner of Thursday's downhill here, finished a disappointing 16th.
The worlds will be held at Santa Caterina -- and nearby Bormio for the men's races -- from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13.
Croatia's Janica Kostelic, who specializes in the more technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, improved on her seventh-place finish Thursday by coming in fifth.
Kostelic's performance moved her closer to leader Tanja Poutiainen of Finland in the overall World Cup standings.
Poutiainen, who does not compete in downhill, now holds a slim 626-604 lead on Kostelic, the two-time overall champion.
"I'm really excited for the worlds. For me, it's never important to gain points. It's important to gain confidence," said the often ill or injured Kostelic, who missed all of last season.
Defending overall winner Anja Paerson of Sweden sits third overall with 539 points. After finishing 30th Thursday, Paerson chose not to race Friday and concentrate instead on a giant slalom and slalom scheduled for the Compagnoni course on Saturday and Sunday.
"I think it's a pretty smart decision," Kostelic said. "She's had a tougher time since she started racing all four [disciplines] and I think she's lost a bit."
Jacquemod had achieved only one podium finish before in her career, a second in a downhill in Lillehammer, Norway in March, 2003.
Her best previous finish this season was ninth in a super-G in Lake Louise, Canada on Dec. 5. She came in 14th here Thursday.
"Yesterday I was very nervous. Today I was able to go all out and I skied a much straighter line," Jacquemod said.
Germany's Sven Fischer used perfect shooting and the backing of a home crowd to win a World Cup biathlon sprint race Friday.
The 33-year-old German, who didn't miss a target despite gusting winds, finished the 10-kilometer event in 27 minutes, 17. 3 seconds, capturing the 29th World Cup victory of his career. He was followed by Norwegians Forde Andresen, 19.6 seconds back, and Egil Gjelland, 26.8 behind.
Fischer took the lead after his second round of shooting, but didn't know he was leading because of the cheers of 14,000 spectators lining the course where he usually trains.