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Cuche races to first World Cup season win

It is only Cuche's second giant slalom victory

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Didier Cuche has secured his first World Cup victory of the season after winning the men's giant slalom in Italy.

Cuche finished his two runs on the 1.6km Kandahar Banchetta course on Saturday in Sestriere in an aggregate time of two minutes, 49:57 seconds.

He was 0.66 seconds ahead of Austria's Stephan Goergl and 0.89 seconds before Benjamin Raich.

"This course is perfect for me. It's icy and hard, that's the way I like it best," Cuche, who hails from Neuchâtel, later said.

"The skis did what I wanted them to do and I was able to really push."

The result follows on from his success in the World Championships in Val d'Isère, France earlier this month where he won the men's super-G and took second place in the downhill.

There, however, he gave his worst performance in the giant slalom.

"The successes at the world championships gave me a lot of confidence," Cuche said. "I came close to winning before the world championships but made mistakes all the time."

Sestriere is only the second giant slalom victory in Cuche's career.

The 34-year-old has competed in 49 giant slalom events over the past seven years and last won a race in 2002 in Adelboden.

His best performance of this World Cup season has been silver in the giant slalom in Austria in October.

In Saturday's race Swiss teammate and world champion Carlo Janka skied off course in the bottom section and missed a gate. Didier Défago suffered the same fate in his second run.

Despite a back injury, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished eleventh and remained atop the overall standings.

swissinfo

Sestriere World Cup men's giant slalom results

1. Didier Cuche (Switzerland) 2:49,57

2. Stephan Goergl (Austria) 2:50,23

3. Benjamin Raich (Austria) 2:50,46

4. Romed Baumann (Austria) 2:50,62

5. Tim Jitloff (US) 2:50,68

6. Marcel Hirscher (Austria) 2:50,70

7. Christof Innerhofer (Italy) 2:50,99

8. Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway) 2:51,00

9. Kjetil Jansrud (Norway) 2:51,03

10. Marcus Sandell (Finland) 2:51,05

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