Raich takes Adelboden first day honours
Austrian Benjamin Raich has won the giant slalom at Adelboden for the second year in a row. The best Swiss skier, Didier Cuche, was disappointed to finish seventh.
The Chuenisbärgli piste is considered one of the most challenging in the world. The World Cup event in Adelboden, in the Bernese Oberland, is the first of many international ski competitions in Switzerland this year.
Raich beat Italian Massimiliano Blardone by nearly a second after a near perfect second run with Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal in third place.
Cuche carried Swiss hopes on his shoulders in front of 25,000 spectators, but was unable to make it to the podium despite being the fifth fastest on the first run.
"My goal was at least one place under the first five. I would have wanted to give the public that," a clearly disappointed Cuche said after the race.
It was on this very same piste that Cuche claimed his one and only giant slalom victory in 2002, a title he lost the following year after leading in the first round.
On 4 January 2005 he suffered torn knee ligaments at the same venue that cost him nearly two years out with injury.
The other Swiss skiers, Didier Défago and Daniel Albrecht, finished in ninth and sixteenth place respectively, while Marc Berthod crashed out of the competition.
The World Cup event at Adelboden continues on Sunday with the men's slalom.
swissinfo with agencies
1. Benjamin Raich (Aut) 2:25,29
2. Massimiliano Blardone (It) 0.85 seconds behind
3. Askel Lund Svindal (Nor) 1.00
7. Didier Cuche (Swi) 1.59
8. Didier Défago (Swi) 1.89
16. Daniel Albrecht (Swi) 2.36
Marc Berthod (Swi) pulled out after falling
The history of ski competition in Adelboden is older than the World Cup, which has been running since 1967. The first event at Adelboden took place in 1955.
The first winner was Martin Julen, the father of Max Julen who was later to become an Olympic winner. The first giant slalom took place in 1958, with a Swiss winner again - Roger Staub.
Swiss World Cup winners became more rare in later years, but include: Werner Mattle (1972), Heini Hemmi (1977), Pirmin Zurbriggen (1983 and 1987), Michael von Grünigen (1993 and 1996) as well as Didier Cuche (2002).
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