Didier Cuche masters melting snow to take silver in Downhill
Didier Cuche attacked the Men’s Downhill course and with the snow melting in the sun used all his experience and technique to post as quick a time that the conditions allowed. The Swiss racer admitted after the race that it was “a very close race” and that the “melting snow made it more difficult.” Yet such races are decided by small margins and on this occasion Cuche was happy with winning the silver medal rather than losing the Gold to his friend Canadian Erik Guay. With his parents in the capacity crowd at the finish, Cuche was happy and positive after the race.
The race and the training runs that preceded it were all very different affairs: From the ice on the first run to the softer conditions in the second run and then the almost spring like conditions for the race itself. Even the race piste was a mixture of conditions for the racers to contend with: Up on the top the snow was very icy and on the flat sections there were lots more tracks caused by the soft snow.
Cuche started 18 and his split times all the way down the course were impressive. Throughout the race, the crowd were treated to some impressive feats and they warmed to the spectacular effort the Swiss Speedoholic was putting in. As Cuche flew over the Free Fall and started his run into the finish, the green light showed at the final split yet a slight loss of control on his right ski, the rising of the body to counter the problem and by the time Cuche crossed the line, it was the number 2 that came up against his name rather than the number one.
Cuche likes racing in Garmisch: “It is always a challenge racing here especially in the speed events,” and he continued to comment on the bumpiness of the course. While the bumps were softer for the race than they had been in training, the fact that there were no injuries Cuche felt this was lucky.
It is now 13 years since he won his first major medal in Nagano. Asked how he felt about this, Cuche replied that his success has been down to his hard work and the hard work of his serviceman Chris Krause. “I have to thank my ski company,” the HEAD speedoholic mentioned, “and also Chris for the work he put in last night in getting my skis ready.
Such was the intensity of effort racers were putting in, the bumps in the finish saw a number of racers crash after the line, including Aksel Lund Svindal. Svindal walked away from his heavy crash after placing fifth overall. Johan Clarey celebrated his eighth place but still felt he had the opportunity to make a podium place.
1. Erik Guay
2. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD
3. Christof Innerhofer
5 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
8 Johan Clarey (FRA) HEAD
15 Bode Miller (USA) HEAD
18 Ben Thomson (CAN) HEAD
22 Werner Heel (ITA) HEAD
23 Guillermo Fayed (FRA) HEAD
26 Hans Olsson (SWE) HEAD