Cuche wins season downhill title
KVITFJELL, Norway – Didier Cuche of Switzerland won the next to last World Cup downhill of the season on Saturday to clinch his first discipline title in the event.Cuche raced down the Olympiabakken course in 1 minute, 28.51 seconds, edging Erik Guay of Canada by 0.06 of a second. It was Cuche’s first downhill win of the season.Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein was third in 1:28.94, Michael Walchhofer of Austria, the defending World Cup downhill champion, was fourth in 1:28.84. American Bode Miller, a former overall champion, was 15th.Cuche became the first Swiss skier to win a World Cup race at Kvitfjell, site of the men’s Olympic alpine ski races at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.”I’ve been second here in downhill also,” Cuche said, referring to his second-place finish to Daron Rahlves in 2000. “It’s nice to win.”Benjamin Raich, the defending overall champion, had to settle with 21st.Aksel Lund Svindal, who won the downhill gold medal in last month’s world championships in Sweden, finished 11th on his home hill to gain ground on Raich in the chase for the World Cup overall title.Only 103 points separate them atop the standings. Cuche is 152 points behind in third place. Miller is fourth, 348 behind Raich.”I think Benni (Raich) is so good in the technical events that it’s going to be really hard for me to catch him,” Cuche said. “But who knows? I’m not giving up.”The start of Saturday’s race was delayed nearly an hour because of foggy and snowy conditions at Kvitfjell. The competition was stopped because of the poor visibility by the organizers after 11 skiers completed the course.The last downhill is next week at the World Cup Finals in Switzerland.