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Cuche disappointed as American snatches gold

Cuche had to make do with fifth place in the men's super-G

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Didier Cuche narrowly missed out on a world championships medal on Tuesday after coming fifth in the men's super-G race in the Austrian resort of St Anton. There was also frustration for the Austrians as America's Daron Rahlves snatched a surprise gold.

The home nation did at least manage to take the silver and the bronze, the sort of achievement that would provoke major celebrations in any other skiing nation. Stefan Eberharter was the top Austrian, eight hundredths of a second behind Rahlves, while top favourite Hermann Maier had to settle for third place.

Cuche's fifth place was all the more disappointing given the quality of his race. The 26-year-old from Lucerne appeared to hold his line well and certainly made less mistakes than the men who finished on the podium.

But the Karl Schranz piste seems to have been built with muscle in mind, and while Rahlves and the Austrians blasted their way down the course, Cuche opted for a more technical approach.

"Maybe I didn't take enough risks at the top of the course," Cuche speculated to swissinfo at the end of the race. "The going was really fast at the top, and I only really got up to speed on the lower stages.

"At the world championships it's only the top three places that count, and I am a little disappointed because I was so close. But I don't think I have to be too angry because I am racing again in Saturday's downhill and I have a good chance to be fast there."

Twenty-three-year-old Didier Defago finished in 11th place, with a mistake at the very first turn costing him a spot in the top ten. Graubünden veteran Paul Accola, who is entered in four competitions in St Anton, began his seventh world championships with a 13th place finish.

The youngest member of the Swiss men's team, Silvano Beltrametti, finished one place behind Accola. Like Cuche, Beltrametti will be looking to perform better in Saturday's downhill.

by Mark Ledsom


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