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Swiss skiers on a roll

Janka downhill Beaver Creek

Janka downhill Beaver Creek

(swissinfo.ch)

Two times two: Swiss skiers have taken the first two podium places in two World Cup disciplines in two days.

Switzerland’s latest revelation, Carlo Janka, who had already won the super-combined on Friday, repeated his triumph on Saturday in the downhill at the US resort of Beaver Creek.

Second in the downhill was another Swiss, Didier Cuche, while Didier Défago, second in the super-combined, came ninth in the downhill.

"What can I say? Amazing weekend for me here. Fantastic day," Janka said afterwards.

"It's a great start to the season. I hope we can get some more podiums."

The first three finishers were separated by only split seconds: Cuche was two hundredths of a second behind, and third-placed Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway four hundredths.

God-given talent

Switzerland’s head trainer, Martin Rufener, is naturally delighted with Janka’s performance.

"He has everything under control the whole time. He never has to go to the limit. He makes everything look so easy," he said.

Cuche took his second place in good spirit, and was full of praise for his team-mate.

"I'm sure he doesn't really need to learn something from me. He has such an instinct, and has that in the blood."

"He has a God-given talent," he said.

"I would have been glad to have had such a feel for the right line in the downhill so early in my career. It took me a bit longer. But better late than never," he added, with a broad grin.

Cuche himself has already taken two first places this year, in the giant in Sölden and the downhill at Lake Louise.

Finding his way

Janka’s achievement is all the more remarkable since a viral infection last summer forced him to take a long break from training.

The 23 year old from the south-eastern canton of Graubünden has already been dubbed the "supertalent from Obersaxen" by the sports magazine L’Equipe. In five races this year so far he has taken podium places in four.

He has equalled the achievement of his friend Daniel Albrecht, who won the same two races in Beaver Creek in 2007. (Albrecht is still recovering from the effects of a serious fall last season, and was unable to race in Beaver Creek this year.)

"This is the third year that I’ve been in Beaver Creek. In the past I was feeling my way, without really getting anywhere. To tell the truth, I have absolutely no idea why I feel so well today," he said.

Until this year he had a career total of two World Cup victories, but he currently stands alone at the top of the overall rankings.

Back to the glory days?

The Swiss success this weekend bodes well for the Winter Olympics and for the rest of the World Cup. With four victories in five races so far, Switzerland can hope for a return to the glory years of the 1970s and 80s.

It is nearly 14 years since Switzerland had a double in the downhill – but then, in January 1996, Bruno Kernen, William Besse, Daniel Mahrer and Xavier Gigandet took the first four places in Veysonnaz.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

Saturday’s Downhill Results

1. Carlo Janka, Switzerland, 1:43,49
2. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:43,51
3., Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:43,53
4. Bode Miller, USA 1:43,94
5 . Michael Walchhofer, Austria,1:43,95;
6. Patrick Staudacher, Italy, 1:44,18
7. Werner Heel, Italy, 1:44,20
8. David Poisson, France 1:44,33
9. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 1:44,51
10. Mario Scheiber, Austria, 1:44,53

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Friday’s Super-Combination

1. Carlo Janka, Switzerland, 2:32,26
2. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 2:32,69
3. Natko Zrncic-Dim, Croatia, 2:32,75
4. Jean-Baptiste Grange, France, 2:32,83
5. Romed Baumann, Austria, 2:32,92
6. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 2:32,96
7. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 2:33,04
8. Julien Lizeroux, France, 2:33,19
9. Lars Elton Myhre, Norway 2:33,61
10. Sandro Viletta, Switzerland, 2:33,89

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Overall World Cup rankings after 6 races out of 34

1. Carlo Janka, Switzerland, 360
2. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 319
3. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 201
4. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 155
5. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 153
6. Werner Heel, Italy 152
7. Jean-Baptiste Grange, France, 146
8. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia 135
9. Ted Ligety, USA 125
10. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Canada 118
10. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 118

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