Switzerland’s Didier Cuche won the men’s World Cup downhill Crystal Globe on home soil yesterday as France’s Adrien Theaux took top spot in the final race of the season.
Theaux claimed his first major victory ahead of Austria’s Joachim Puchner and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, with Cuche securing his fourth Crystal Globe in the discipline by finishing fourth, 0.31 seconds off the pace.
The 26-year-old Theaux completes his medal collection after achieving the first two podiums of his career this season, with a silver in the super-G at Beaver Creek in December and bronze in the downhill at Kitzbuehel in January.
“Arriving here, I didn’t think about the downhill podium,” Theaux said. “The key to my success was quite difficult to find. At the finish I thought I had skied well, despite some little errors, but that it wouldn’t be enough to win. I don’t think I could have dreamed of a better finish. It’s simply been a super season. Like my podium at Kitzbuehel, I’ve always dreamed of this victory and now it’s achieved, and then to finish sixth in the World Cup downhill caps a wonderful season.”
It is the fourth downhill Globe for 36-year-old Cuche after 2007, 2008 and last year.
He had arrived in Lenzerheide 14 points behind Michael Walchhofer, but turned the situation around to finish 12 points ahead of the Austrian, who struggled in 11th place.
AFP, LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND
Julia Mancuso of the US won the final women’s downhill race of the season yesterday, as her compatriot Lindsey Vonn took the overall World Cup lead from Maria Riesch of Germany with three races to go.
Olympic silver medalist Mancuso finished ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut and reigning world champion Elisabeth Gorgl of Austria to claim her fifth career victory four years after her last success.
“I was close to the limit at times, close enough to lose control, but I succeeded,” said Mancuso, who has decided to donate part of her prize money to help the victims of the earthquake in Japan.
Olympic downhill champion Vonn finished off the podium in fourth, but the reigning three-time overall World Cup champion took 50 points on Crystal Globe rival Riesch, who finished just 17th.
“It was difficult, visibility wasn’t good and the piste was unstable,” said Vonn, who had already secured a fourth consecutive Crystal Globe in the downhill earlier this month.
Riesch has 27 points to make up on Vonn with a super-G, slalom and giant slalom left.
“I had a bad race, but since my injury several years ago I don’t feel at ease when visibility isn’t good,” the German said. “Since the beginning of the season people keep asking me about the overall standings after every race. Psychologically, it’s wearing.”