Austria’s Klaus Kroell yesterday won the first of two World Cup downhills in Chamonix, France, his fourth victory on the international ski circuit.
Kroell clocked a time of 2 minutes, 4.22 seconds, 0.01 seconds ahead of American Bode Miller, with Swiss pre-race favorite Didier Cuche completing the podium a further 0.02 seconds adrift as the top 18 skiers all finished within 1 second of the Austrian.
Claiming his first World Cup win since winning at Wengen just over a year ago, Kroell also handed Austria’s “Wunderteam” their first win of the season in alpine skiing’s most prestigious event.
With the big favorites matching each other at almost every turn on the technical top part of the Vert des Houches course, the Austrian made all the difference on the second half of the run.
At the finish, Austrian Romed Baumann and Canada’s reigning downhill world champion Erik Guay tied for fourth place, both skiers just missing out on the podium.
Miller was remarkable for taking some extreme lines while negotiating the technical sections, but ultimately lost out on victory on the second half of the course where the gliding specialists excelled.
Cuche, the winner last year, meanwhile retained the lead of the downhill World Cup competition on 437 points, with second-placed Kroell on 397.
A second downhill will be held today, while a super-combined completes the weekend’s action tomorrow.