Lake Louise, men’s downhill.
Another great win for Didier Cuche.
A month after enjoying his first season win at Soelden, Switzerland’s Didier Cuche celebrated his second consecutive triumph this winter at Lake Louise where he dominated the first downhill race of the new winter. The reigning Super-G World Champion, never on the podium in the specialty on the Canadian ‘Men’s Olympic Run, beat by nearly half a second his closest rival, Italy’s Werner Heel. It was also the 100th Swiss win in downhill on the men’s World Cup tour.
Another HEAD champion, his teammate Ambrosi Hoffmann, finished a close 5th while Sweden’s Hans Olsson was a promising 10th.
It’s Didier’s fifth downhill victory on the World Cup tour since 1998 for a total of 11 – but for sure a special one as he never managed to fully achieve his potential on this slope in past years. “This time the weather conditions were finally rather fair and my run very solid,” the HEAD champion explained afterwards to the reporters.
“It has been pretty frustrating for me here in previous downhill races so that’s why this win means a lot to me. My serviceman did again a hell of a job on my skis which were literally flying down the slope. I skied much smoother this time than yesterday, I tried to be as relaxed as on the first training day.”
“On Friday, I was too aggressive in the last training run, but on this softer snow it was crucial to let the ski run in a smoother way. I’m glad I achieved that plan so successfully. It’s a great way to start the downhill season.”
Cuche, who never did better than 5th in downhill in Lake Louise, took over the lead in the Overall World Cup standings thanks also to his superb win at Soelden in October. “It’s great to be back at the top of the rankings, but the season is still long and a lot of things can happen in the coming weeks. As I said it at Val d’Isère in February at the World Championships, there is often only a slim margin between triumph and disaster. An accident can happen anytime, just remember what occurred to Daniel Albrecht at Kitzbühel a few weeks after his great wins in December.”
“There are a dozen skiers who will be fighting again for the Overall crown this season and I don’t want worry about it for the coming months. The most important for me is to remain healthy and able to give my best also in the future. For the moment, my next goal is to remain focused for tomorrow’s Super-G race. I was three time on the podium here in that discipline, so I hope to do well again tomorrow.”
The Swiss veteran, who also became the oldest downhiller winner on the World Cup tour this weekend, has not won a downhill race for a long time. He was 2nd at Val d’Isère 2009 and 2nd at the Finals at Are but his last win in that specialty goes back to his success at Kitzbühel in January 2008.
“It was about time, it has been a long wait, sometimes it’s not easy to find the perfect tuning with you equipment” he explained. “Everybody worked hard last summer with me to help me reaching my best level. I am very confident looking forward as I know I have what it needs to fight for more good results.”
On Sunday, Didier could achieve an impressive hat-trick in case he manages to also excel in the Super-G race. Only a few skiers were able to win in more than two specialties during the same season. The Swiss could not win in giant slalom, downhill and Super-G in the same winter so far. Another triumph would put him on a very high orbit for the coming weeks.