Cuche edges Miller in Kitzbuehel
Vail, CO Colorado
KITZBUEHEL, Austria ” Didier Cuche won a World Cup downhill race Saturday ahead of Bode Miller and became the new overall leader, while American Scott Macartney crashed and suffered a brain contusion.
The 33-year-old Swiss skier won in 1 minute, 52.75 seconds for his fourth downhill win and eighth overall.
Miller, who had a strong finish after losing time in the upper part of the Streif course, shared second with Mario Scheiber. They trailed Cuche by 0.27 seconds.
The race was interrupted for half an hour after Macrtney, the second skier, lost his balance at the final jump and smashed his head on the snow. He briefly lost consciousness and organizers said he had a brain contusion, though no surgery would be needed.
Miller accused organizers of trying to make the course more spectacular by creating huge bumps.
“They should not try to make a hill more bumpy or difficult as it as,” Miller said. “That final jump was completely dysfunctional. They changed it three times during the training runs.
“That put me in a real bad mood. It is frustrating. Our health is at stake, but we have no say in this. It threw my close pal Scott off ” that’s not what you want to see before you have to race.”
Michael Walchhofer was fourth and Hermann Maier fifth. Benjamin Raich finished 14th and lost his lead in the overall standings.
“I was a bit cautious from the start, but after that, I can’t tell you. I was in a trance,” said Cuche, who had his first World Cup win 10 years ago in Kitzbuehel.
Miller criticized organizers Wednesday for poorly preparing the Streif course. The American was 10th fastest in the bumpy first section as he raced off course on one ski ” and just avoided crashing into the gates ” but he accelerated for a very fast lower part.
Scheiber had his second podium finish in two days after taking third in Friday’s super-G race.
“This is incredible after two weeks off with injuries,” Scheiber said. “Only Cuche was faster, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. My first victory will be just a question of time.”
The crash affected the other skiers, including Marco Sullivan of the United States, who finished sixth.
“It was hard to blank your head after seeing Scott’s crash,” Sullivan said. “I did not know anything about him being OK or not when I started. So under the circumstances, finishing sixth was OK for me. There are more important things to life than skiing.”
American Steven Nyman finished 19th.
“I just felt sick after what happened to Scott,” Nyman said.
Cuche extended his lead in the World Cup downhill standings and now leads Miller, who moved to second after two straight wins, by 21 points.
The slalom race is Sunday.