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Cuche wins fourth downhill title

Swiss skier Didier Cuche has won his fourth World Cup downhill title after finishing fourth in the season’s final race at the Swiss resort of Lenzerheide.

The win comes a day after the 36-year-old speed specialist scotched rumours that he was ready to retire. In the season’s final women’s World Cup downhill, Switzerland’s Lara Gut came second, 0.81 seconds behind race winner Julia Mancuso.

Cuche scored enough race points to overtake Austria’s Michael Walchhofer, who placed 11th in his final downhill before retiring. The race was won by French skier Adrien Theaux.

Racing immediately after his rival, Cuche needed to finish at least sixth but his final time split with 15 seconds to run suggested he would fall short. But he made up 0.17 seconds in the steep bottom section to clinch the title.

Cuche looked up at the scoreboard and threw his head back, screamed with delight and punched the air with both fists as a partisan home crowd roared. Walchhofer, a three-time downhill champion, watched Cuche from the finish area and was the first to congratulate him.

Cuche then performed his trademark trick of flipping his right ski end over end before catching it, kissed the ski, then sank to his knees and kissed the snow.

In the overall competition, which combines five disciplines, Cuche is second, far behind Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic. Switzerland’s Carlo Janka is third.

Cuche’s fourth career downhill title lifted him to second in the World Cup’s 44-year history behind Franz Klammer. The Austrian great won five between 1975-83.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR