Cuche wins World Cup downhill
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Didier Cuche won his second consecutive World Cup downhill race on a shortened Kandahar course on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Swiss veteran, who is retiring at the end of the season, was coming off his record fifth win in Kitzbuehel, Austria – which was also run on a shortened course.
“I am very proud of this win today,” Cuche said.
Cuche’s third downhill victory of the season took him to the top of the event standings.
Erik Guay of Canada finished second on a slope where he won the world championship title last year ahead of Cuche. Hannes Reichelt of Austria was third, leaving his team still without a win in a speed event this season.
Guay, still feeling the effects of a cold, had a rocky run on the course, nearly hitting the snow with his hip, then almost crossing skis and going off his line, but made up in the bottom part. Guay does well in the German resort, where he also clinched the super G World Cup by winning the last race of the 2010 season.
“I always feel relaxed here, I love skiing here,” Guay said. “I took some chances today. I hit the snow with my boot, I thought it would be tough to make it to the finish and I was ecstatic when I saw I was first.
“Didier then beat me today, but it’s only fair because I beat him here last year,” Guay said. “I’ve no idea why I do so well here, but I feel relaxed and it’s a course that encompasses everything that a downhill course should have.”
Thick fog forced organizers to lower the starting gate, taking a significant chunk out of the classic course – nearly half of the vertical drop – and making the race about 50 seconds shorter.
“It was clear to me early today that they would have to shorten it, the fog was very thick at the top and it wasn’t going away,” said Cuche, who also won on the Kandahar course eight years ago.
“It was good to know that we would race and that we would start on time, even if it was shorter,” he said.
Cuche covered the 1.17-mile course – down from the normal 2.02 miles – in 1 minute, 9.10 seconds, to beat Guay by 0.27 seconds and Reichelt by 0.30 seconds.
Christof Innerhofer is another skier who seems to thrive on the slope in southern Germany.
The Italian finished in a tie for fourth with Andrej Sporn of Slovenia.
Innerhofer won the super G gold medal at the world championship last year, silver in the super-combined and bronze in the downhill.
American Bode Miller was penalized for showing up a few minutes late for Friday’s draw and had to start 46th rather than 16th. Miller did well early on the course and was close to Cuche but lost speed at the bottom and finished outside the top 30 who win points.
A super G is scheduled for Sunday.
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