Swiss skier Daniel Albrecht opened his account for the overall World Cup crown by winning the men’s giant slalom on Sunday to secure his third career victory.
The 25-year-old world championship silver medalist timed two minutes, 15.78 seconds to edge out compatriot Didier Cuche by 14 hundreths of a second, while American Ted Ligety, the reigning World Cup champion in the discipline, was third, 1.25 seconds off the pace.
Like many all-rounders on the circuit Albrecht has ambitions to win the coveted overall World Cup trophy, won last season by American Bode Miller.
And the German-speaking Swiss admitted that he had been spurned on by hearing that speed event specialist Cuche, who is French-speaking, had surprised the field by setting the fastest provisional two-run time.
“Before starting my second run I heard that Cuche had set the fastest two-run time. I was a bit nervous, but it boosted me to think it could be two Swiss fighting for the victory,” Albrecht said. “I’m confident for the rest of the season, and I’m hoping to challenge for the overall World Cup crown. I’m skiing far more relaxed now and think I’ve made progress in all the disciplines.”
Cuche missed out on winning the prestigious World Cup crown last season due mainly to his relative weakness in the slalom events.
After years of missing out at Solden, Cuche was emotional after finally getting his season off to a bright start.
“I’m felt a lot of things being up there on the podium. Two years ago, after my [knee] injury, I told myself it would be nice to get on the podium at Solden at least once, just to start the season off well,” Cuche said. “I didn’t expect to be in the top three, more in the top 10. I’ve been feeling good in the speed events in training and can’t wait for the first races at Lake Louise [Canada] at the end of November.”
Austrian Benjamin Raich was second after the first leg but dropped away in the second run to finish fourth, five hundreths of a second behind Ligety.
Last season’s winner here Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal finished 13th as he made his return after being out injured for almost a year.
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