Cuche wins 1st of two Crans-Montana SGs
It is difficult to comprehend just how good Didier Cuche had to be to pick up the fourth win of his retirement season at home on Friday (Feb. 24). It was full on Spring skiing at Crans-Montana, Switzerland for the first of two back-to-back super G's - today's the make-up from Kitzbuehel - and the sun was baking the course. Early numbers had an advantage and Cuche ran 20th.
“As soon as you got out of the track you were just in mashed potatoes,” said US coach Sasha Rearick. “For Cuche to win from the number he had was just impressive.”
Cuche had overtaken Canadian Jan Hudec - the sixth starter - from a lead that had seemed beyond reach. Healthy for the first time in memory, Hudec had blazed down the Piste Nationale nearly a half second ahead of the field and appeared headed for his second win of the month. Cuche ended that, but he took his sweet time about it.
Trailing early on the course, Cuche said toward the bottom, “somehow it just started feeling right,” and he made up that half second though the bottom section and said, “I think I was able to find the fastest and cleanest line in the lower section.”
Following his lead was Benjamin Raich, closing to third on the day with his best super G finish since last February.
"It was bumpy when I went down," said Hudec, "but it really deteriorated for the other guys. It was like plus 10 (c) on the hill."
The Canadian said, "I had a feeling it wasn't enough. I was a little conservative at the bottom and I know that left a window open for someone else. No one was really close to me at the top, but if anyone can sneak in there, it's Cuche."
It was not a race for the faint hearted. Nineteen skiers failed to finish, including three of the nine Americans entered. Rearick said his skiers either went “too round, or too straight,” leaving the top US placing a 24th from Andrew Weibrecht. Ted Ligety got 28th and Thomas Biesemeyer collected his first World Cup point in 30th.
There were several crashes, the most severe looking a helmet losing smack down from Silvano Viletta. Though he sustained a facial cut he appeared none the worse for wear and skied down on his own.
Canadian speed coach John McBride said the five podiums in five race performance from his team was due, "more than anything from good energy and a sense of confidence. Guys are believing in what they are doing and believing in themselves."
A little extra incentive seems to be working as well. McBride revealed he had told Jeffrey Frisch he needed to score to earn a trip to the downhills in Kvitfjell, Norway next week. He responded with his first points of the season.
The race also was the premier speed race appearance for World Cup overall standings leader Marcel Hirscher. With a tight three way race for the most prestigious trophy in ski racing, Austrian coaches put him in. He finished well off the pace in 34th.
Cuche concluded there was no secret to his success on the day. "My service man gave me a rocket," he said.
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup super G, Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 24, 2012
1 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
2 Hudec, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
5 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
8 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
10 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men's World Cup super G, Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 24, 2012. ... It is the 32nd race of the men's 44 race 2012 World Cup schedule. ... It is the fourth of eight scheduled super G's the first of back-to-back SG's set at Crans-Montana. ... The race is a make-up from the Jan. 20 race lost at Kitzbuehel by rain, snow and fog.
It is the 21st career World Cup win for Didier Cuche. ... his sixth in super G. ... It is his fourth win of the season and first of the season in super G, the others all coming in downhill. ... He bumps the mark for oldest World Cup winner to 37years six months. ... It is his first win at Crans-Montana, though he was second in downhill at the site March 13, 1998.
It is the fourth career World Cup podium for Jan Hudec and the first in super G, the others all coming in downhill. ... It is his second podium of the season following the win in DH at Chamonix 20 days ago. ... It is Canada's fifth podium of the season.
It is the 90th career World Cup podium placing for Benjamin Raich. ... His seventh in super G. ... It is his second podium of the season having also placed second in GS at Adelboden Jan. 7.
North Americans: It is the ninth best of 11 scoring results this season for Erik Guay and the third best SG result. ... It is the third best of four career scoring finishes for Jeffrey Frisch and the first time he has collected two results in one discipline. ... It is his first score since Dec. of 2009. ... It is the 20th career World Cup scoring finish for Andrew Weibrecht and his third best of four this season, all coming in super G. ... It is the 12th time Ted Ligety has scored in a Cup super G in his career. ... the first time this season. ... It is the first World Cup score for Thomas Biesemeyer.
Standings: Marcel Hirscher (34th in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 1055-1043 over Ivica Kostelic (did not race). ... Beat Feuz (20th in race) is third overall with 1014. ... Ligety is eighth overall with 636 and Bode Miller (did not race) is ninth with 612pts. ... Guay is top Canadian in 16th with 417pts and Hudec 17th with 414pts. ... Aksel Lund Svindal (ninth in race) leads the super G standings 259-221 over Cuche. ... Feuz is third with 182pts. ... Miller is fifth with 119pts and Guay 13th with 96pts. .... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup standings 5548-3418 over Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 2865. ... The US is fifth with 1776pts. ... and Canada seventh with 1353.
FIS World Cup
Men's Super G
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|9||16||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:33.78||7.63|
|26||40||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:35.26||24.48|
|32||35||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:35.74||29.94|
|52||73||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||1:39.14||68.65|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|