Defago returns to Olympic form with downhill win


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 - Page 20

Olympic champion Didier Defago completed a brilliant return to form with victory in the World Cup downhill in Bormio yesterday, his first win since his gold medal last year.

Sidelined by a knee injury for the whole of last season, Defago also ended a long Swiss jinx in the Italian resort since Pirmin Zurbriggen won at the 1985 world championships.

Defago led a Swiss one-two in 2 minutes, 1.81 seconds, ahead of Patrick Kueng, who was 0.29 seconds slower.

Pre-race favourite Klaus Kroell of Austria, impressive in training, had to settle for third place, 0.42 seconds off the pace.

At 34 and after 15 years on the circuit, Defago has only won four World Cup races and four major downhills.

However, those World Cup races are all the ones that matter: Kitzbuehel, Wengen, Bormio and the Olympic title.

The skier from Morgins had shown he was not far off from his best level in the eight races he entered since the start of the winter, finishing ninth in the demanding Alta Badia giant slalom last week.

American Bode Miller finished fifth to take charge of the downhill World Cup standings and sixth-placed Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway returned to the top of the overall standings.