Canadian Jan Hudec avenged years of injuries and frustration when he won the Chamonix downhill yesterday, four years after his only previous victory.
Czech-born Hudec eclipsed the rest of the field in 2 minutes, 3.25 seconds to become the first Canadian to win on the Verte des Houches piste since Ken Read in 1978.
Hudec, 30, was not born at the time, but he had already made Canadian alpine skiing history in 2007 when he became the first home skier to win the Lake Louise downhill.
A silver medallist at the Are world championships the same year, Hudec had since suffered one of his countless injuries when he crashed in training in Wengen in 2008 and he even considered retiring last year.
Austrian all-rounder Romed Baumann was second, 0.53 seconds behind, while world champion Erik Guay joined compatriot Hudec on the podium in third place, a further 0.1 seconds adrift.
The result was a relief for the Canadian team, who are depleted by injuries to John Kucera, Michael Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon.
Despite taking place a day after another downhill on the same course, the race was completely different even though the three men on the podium on Friday — Klaus Kroell, Didier Cuche and Bode Miller — kept close together, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Cuche retained the lead in the downhill World Cup standings with his top ten finish.
The weekend program in Chamonix continues with a super-combined today.