Austria’s Michael Walchhofer has won the classic Lauberhorn downhill in the Swiss alpine resort of Wengen.This content was published on January 15, 2005 - 14:31
Switzerland’s skiers, however, recorded their worst World Cup downhill result in five years, with Silvan Zurbriggen the highest placed Swiss in 16th position.
Walchhofer, who negotiated the course in a time of two minutes 27.05 seconds, finished ahead of his compatriot Christoph Gruber, with America’s Bode Miller a close third.
Defending overall World Cup champion Hermann Maier finished fourth, with another Austrian, Werner Franz, fifth.
On the 75th anniversary of the Lauberhorn, Switzerland's skiers failed to make an impression on the race.
Bruno Kernen, who won two years ago, came 20th, while Didier Défago crashed out within sight of the finish line.
Walchhofer’s win brought him his sixth podium finish in seven downhill races this season. His only victory of the season so far came in the super-G at Val Gardena in Italy.
The skier from Altenmarkt was one of the few to master the technically challenging Lauberhorn course, winning the third World Cup downhill of his career at the age of 29.
The win cements his position at the top of the overall downhill standings with 431 points – 53 points ahead of Miller in second place.
The 4.2km Lauberhorn downhill is the oldest and longest course on the World Cup circuit and features technically difficult sections and long gliding passages.
The downhill, slalom and, for the first time, a super combined event on the Lauberhorn were expected to attract about 40,000 people to Wengen at the weekend.
The event is estimated to provide sales of nearly SFr9 million ($7.7 million) for hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and the local railway.
It also generates an additional 30,000 overnight stays in the region.
swissinfo with agencies
The men’s downhill at Wengen was the 7th of the season.
The Lauberhorn is the world’s longest downhill course: 4,465 metres, 1,028m descent, 51 gates.
Skiers reach speeds of around 155kmh.
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