Didier Cuche closes on lead in Super G with third place in Crans Montana
Didier Cuche raised the atmosphere as he left the start gate for his last speed race in Switzerland. The large crowd that had made their way up to Crans Montana willed his every movement and the roar when the first split showed up green was deafening. Cuche is a HEAD World Cup Rebel and his adoring crowd that lined the course wanted him to sign off on the Crans Montana slope with victory. In the finish he had to settle for second behind the resurgent Benni Raich and then Adrian Theaux nudged him down one place to third.
While the sun did not give the course as strong a pounding as for the previous day, the course setting meant that racers needed to be exact and light on the skis: something Cuche is a master of. Cuche had prepared for this weekend and wanted to win “but if you do it, it is another thing, it is so good,” he admitted afterwards, “I can do it.”
In taking another 60 points for third place, Cuche is now rapidly charging up the standings. He now trails fellow HEAD World Cup Rebel Aksel Lund Svindal in the discipline standings by just seven points and is now lucking ominously in the Overall standings. This is something that Rainer Salzgeber was keen to point out: “The missing forty points he could have won today may make a difference at the end of the season in the Overall.” This is the business end of the season in terms of fighting for every point.
With three speed races scheduled for Kvitfjell, there is all to play for said Cuche: “It is somewhere I love and am really looking forward to going up there.”
With Kjetil Jansrud placing seventh and Svindal coming home in ninth place, the HEAD team was further bolstered by the performance of Matthias Mayer. Mayer admitted after the race that he had been inspired by his early start number (2) to really attack. As a number of his fellow early starters failed to better his time, the young Austrian was only nudged out of the top ten by the top seeds to finish 11th for his second best career World Cup result. For Jansrud the soft snow had helped him cope with a slight knee problem he has.
The Women’s Downhill in Bansko was cancelled due to the weather with Lindsey Vonn already confirmed as the Downhill World Cup Champion for 2012.
1. Benni Raich (AUT)
2. Adrien Theaux (FRA)
3. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD
7. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
9. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
11. Matthias Mayer (AUT) HEAD
18. Werner Heel (ITA) HEAD
22. Ted Ligety (USA) HEAD
24. Stephan Keppler (GER) HEAD
28. Gauthier de Tessieres (FRA) HEAD