CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy — Italian veteran Daniela Merighetti earned the first World Cup victory of her career Saturday despite a broken left thumb, with Lindsey Vonn the runner-up in one of the season's biggest downhills.
Merighetti was timed in 1 minute, 33.17 seconds on the Olympia delle Tofane course before her home fans on a day when wind slowed the favorites. Vonn, the overall World Cup leader, was 0.21 seconds behind. Defending overall champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany was third, 0.40 back.
The 30-year-old Merighetti had only one previous top-three finish — second in a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, nine years ago. She's also had three fourth-place finishes.
On a clear and sunny day and the snow in perfect condition, shifting winds picked up just as the top-ranked skiers started between Nos. 16 and 22.
Merighetti feared bad luck when she drew the No. 13 bib during the draw on Friday the 13th, but her run was virtually flawless. While Vonn and Hoefl-Riesch were faster on top, they couldn't match Merighetti on the bottom section.
Vonn, who has five wins and 11 top-three results in Cortina, also skied well. She shrugged at the finish as if to say she couldn't have done any better while fans celebrated Merighetti's victory.
Still, the American increased her lead in the overall and downhill standings. With wins worth 100 points each, Vonn is 244 points ahead of Austrian slalom specialist Marlies Schild in the overall standings and 127 points in front of Austria's Elisabeth Goergl in the downhill rankings.
Giant slalom world champion Tina Maze of Slovenia finished fourth. Liechtenstein's only racer, Tina Weirather, was fifth, and Stacey Cook of the U.S. placed sixth for one of the best results her career.
The race got off to a bad start when opening skier Aurelie Revillet fell while landing a jump and hit the safety netting at full speed. The Frenchwoman got right back up and walked away without apparent major injuries.
A super-G is scheduled for Sunday.