Swiss lead in World Cup downhill season opener
Swiss skiers have taken first and second place in the first men’s downhill race of the World Cup season.
Defending downhill and super-G champion Didier Cuche finished in 1:47.28 at the race in Lake Louise, in western Canada.
Beat Feuz was second in 1:47.34, and Austria’s Hannes Reichelt was third in 1:47.36.
Cuche, who is now 37, also won at Lake Louise in 2009. After Saturday’s race he said it was surprising to take first place as he had not done well in practice.
“But I think that experience counts and also the fact I didn’t have anything to prove, only to enjoy it. I race because I enjoy it,” he said.
“It’s one race where the Swiss guys are better,” Reichelt said later, adding that they would try and “kick the Swiss off the podium” in Sunday’s super-G or in Beaver Creek next week.
The Lake Louise downhill was Cuche’s 18th career win. He has picked up the crystal globe for the discipline four times and is the oldest winner of a World Cup race.
“In spring I was thinking about the future and knew I had to work hard to stay on this level. Getting old makes it harder to stay in good shape, but I did the work. And it paid off today,” he told the post-race press conference.
Cuche is a hero to fellow Swiss Feuz, who won his first downhill in March in Kvitfjell.
“He’s the old guy and I’m the young guy so we complete each other,” the 24-year-old said. “Of course he’s a ski legend and a great guy and to be second behind him, it gives an even sweeter taste to my podium finish.”
Cuche picked up 100 points from the race and Feuz 80.
Also on Saturday, Lara Gut finished fifth in the women’s World Cup grand slalom in Aspen, Colorado won by Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.
In Sunday’s World Cup 15km cross country stage in Kuusamo, Finland, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna came second 1.8 seconds after the 38.41 time set by Norway’s Marit Björgen.
The World Cup Alpine ski season got underway with giant slaloms in October at Austria’s Sölden glacier.
Switzerland: The men’s World Cup will come to the Bernese Alps in January, with the traditional races at Adelboden and Wengen. New this season, the Valais station Crans-Montana will hold men’s super-G and giant slalom competitions at the end of February. In January, St Moritz will welcome the women’s downhill and super-combined.
The World Cup will end at Sotchi, Russia, the venue for the next Olympics in winter 2014. It will be an occasion for skiers to familiarise themselves with pistes that have a number of impressive jumps and an unusual climate being situated at sea level.
In compliance with the JTI standards