Another record for Didier Cuche
Two weeks after becoming the oldest Alpine World Champion in Val d’Isère where he clinched gold in Super-G, Didier Cuche is now the oldest giant slalom winner on the World Cup tour! The Swiss veteran dominated the next-to-last giant slalom race held today at Sestriere, celebrating his first triumph in the specialty since his first giant slalom victory at Adelboden in January 2002 – as well as his first World Cup win this season. The previous ‘record-holders’ were former skiing legends Michael von Grünigen and Lasse Kjus who both excelled in their early 30s.
Cuche was particularly elate after his successful race. “I don’t mind getting older if I keep on winning races,” he said about that fact. “I also work very hard to remain in good shape, you can’t have success without it.”
“It’s fore sure a special win for me today. I never gave-up my hope to win again a giant slalom prior to retire, I’m extremely happy with my skiing today,” the 34-year-old Swiss also told the press. “I have been skiing well in that specialty this winter since the start at Sölden. Today, I felt ready to give my best on that long and physically demanding slope,” added the HEAD champion.
“Yesterday, as I tested another pair of racing skis on the slope while free-skiing, I immediately felt comfortable with them. I had the same kind of feeling two weeks ago the day prior the Super-G race,” Cuche also commented.
“I was happy to see that the snow covering the slope was really hard. I was very confident going to the start and very concentrated too. This slope requests aggressive yet also precise skiing and I managed to deliver what was necessary for a very good race.”
“Still, I was pretty surprised this morning to see that I finished so far ahead of my nearest rival, I was nearly a second faster than anybody else. Fortunately, Romed Bauman came much closer afterwards, forcing me to remain very focused and determined. You can’t lose any time about strategy with a lead of half a second. It would eventually have been different with an advantage of a second.”
“So I fully charged again in the afternoon and I really enjoyed it. It was a perfect day for an exciting competition. My good results at Val d’Isère allow me to ski now with great confidence and a very relaxed attitude. I’m no more as nervous as I used to be after my frustrating results at Beaver Creek in December. I execute my plans much better now and I’m looking forward for more great moments in the coming weeks.”
“A series of fun races are ahead of us and a lot is still possible for me if I can keep this pace for a while. A month ago nobody would have believing that I had a chance to challenge Benjamin Raich in the giant slalom and the Overall standings three weeks before the Finals, it’s really surprising and fun too.”
“The giant slalom globe would mean a lot to me, but Benni is also on a roll and very solid too. He has always been skiing so well at Kranjska Gora where the next giant slalom is taking place. I think he won there at least four times. I was once 3rd but I’, coming from behind and have nothing to lose.”
“It’s the same with the Overall standings – first you need to ski well to reach the podium and then you can start adding big points. I may end this season as well as I have started it, who knows, but I don’t want to put any extra pressure on my shoulders as I did in the middle of the season prior Val d’Isère.”
“I’ll compete in tomorrow’s Super-combined to test another pair of Super-G skis and then I might try to do the slalom. I have not skied slalom for several months now, but it could be fun. The snow conditions are perfect and I feel relaxed and confident.”
On Sunday, Didier Cuche took a very encouraging 14th place in the last Super-combined of the season after clocking the 2nd fastest time in the morning Super-G run despite his high start-number 32.
This brought him some extra 18 points helping him to reinforce his 5th place in the Overall World Cup standings in the middle of the other main contenders.
"Not bad for somebody who has not skied slalom for several months," he said afterwards with a big smile. "Who knows, these points could be crucial in a few weeks. But for the moment, I don't think too much about the Overall title, there are still many races left. The most important for me is to remain focused and have fun while steaming down the mountains. I'll keep on charging as hard as I can and then we will see what's possible," added the Swiss racer whose next goal is to achieve another strong race next Saturday in giant slalom at Kranjska Gora.