Sun, Jan 22, 2012 - Page 20 News List

SKIING: Age-defying Didier Cuche dominates in Kitzbuehel


Didier Cuche of Switzerland reacts after completing his run during the World Cup downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Swiss veteran Didier Cuche, fresh from announcing his imminent retirement, ensured a dream ending on the toughest downhill of the World Cup circuit.

Cuche stormed to a convincing victory on the Hahnenkamm, his 19th World Cup victory and fifth success in the demanding downhill that was cut short because of snow and low-lying fog.

The 37-year-old Cuche bettered the previous record for downhill wins on the mountain he jointly held with Austrian ski legend Franz Klammer.

“He’s the king of Kitzbuehel now,” 1976 Olympic downhill champion Klammer said of Cuche, who could only finish 15th in Wengen last weekend.

Having won the World Cup downhill title in four of the past five seasons, Cuche remains in contention for a record-equaling fifth globe this year and his victory saw him move into second place in the discipline standings behind Beat Feuz.

Cuche, who announced this week that he will retire at the end of the season, timed 1 minute, 13.28 seconds.

His time was 0.24 seconds ahead of Austria’s Romed Baumann, with another Austrian, Klaus Kroell, a further 0.06 seconds adrift.

Austrian Joachim Puchner missed out on the podium by just 0.06 seconds, while France’s Johan Clarey finished fifth.

Up-and-coming Swiss racer Feuz, winner of last week’s downhill on home snow in Wengen, clocked 1 minute, 13.73 seconds after a strong bottom half to finish sixth.

American veteran Bode Miller, a former two-time World Cup overall champion, did well to avoid a nasty fall after showing immense strength to drag back a ski of which he momentarily lost control.

However, the error saw Miller finish 1.35 seconds adrift in 29th.

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