Austrian veteran Benjamin Raich got his first World Cup victory in more than two years yesterday, winning a Super-G as pre-race favorite Didier Cuche finished third.
Raich’s technical skills mastered a tough middle section as he clocked 1 minute, 34.37 seconds on the Nationale course.
Adrien Theaux of France was runner-up, 0.24 seconds back, while Cuche trailed Raich by 0.36. The result was provisional while lower-ranked starters were racing.
Cuche, who won Friday’s Super-G when Raich was third, helped -attract 23,000 spectators to see him race in Switzerland for the final time this weekend.
Swiss teammate Beat Feuz was 10th-fastest, missing another chance to take the overall standings lead from Austrian Marcel Hirscher.
Hirscher, defending overall champion Ivica Kostelic of Croatia and Feuz, are separated by just 15 points. Hirscher sat out yesterday’s race to prepare for his specialist giant slalom event today, while Kostelic is expected to race again in two weeks after knee surgery.
Bode Miller was sidelined for a second straight day to help his left knee heal after undergoing minor knee surgery in the US this week. Miller could race the GS today.
Raich’s 36th World Cup victory, sixth on the all-time list ahead of Miller, was his first in Super-G.
The former World Cup champion, who will be 34 on Tuesday, last won in December 2009 at a super-combined event at Val d’Isere, France.
Raich also underwent knee surgery that ended his season one year ago, but has come back strongly since last month. His three podium finishes this season have all been in Switzerland.
Despite rooting for Cuche, the knowledgeable Swiss crowd generously applauded Raich when he crossed the line after an impressively clean run on the soft snow.
Race temperatures were merely warm, as the sun occasionally broke through cloud cover, compared with Friday’s relative Alpine heatwave.
WOMEN’S ALPINE SKIING
AFP, BANSKO, BULGARIA
The women’s World Cup downhill was canceled yesterday because of heavy winds.
It was originally set to start at 9am and then delayed until 11:30am because of the winds.