There is a lot to be said for experience. And a lot more to be said for good fortune.
Didier Cuche, the ageless Swiss one, notched his 18th career World Cup win, his tenth in downhill and second at Lake Louise Saturday (Nov. 26), making him the fourth winning-est Swiss man in Cup history. There is no questioning his pedigree. The man can flat out ski race and has seemingly gotten better with age, now enjoying his 37th year. But he, fourth finishing Romed Baumann of Austria and a second place Swiss Beat Feuz all started consecutively (17th, 18th and 19th respectively) on a day when weather seemed, some thought, to play a bigger than usual role.
“Usually at Lake Louise you have to be lucky also with the weather and not only make a good run,” said Cuche.
The Lake Louise area has been showered with snow for the better part of a week and the course was soft. Wind had completely messed with the times from the final training session Friday and the top of the hill was socked in less than an hour before the start of the race. But the gods of all that is right smiled on Lake Louise. The clouds lifted, the wind diminished and the snow tapered off. At times the sun even shone through. Like for bibs 17 through 19.
“At the start we going ‘come on sun’,” said Marco Sullivan – in 24th the second best American on the day – “instead we got wind.”
And, since most of the U.S. team started in a pack just outside of the top 30 seed, they all got – more or less – the same thing.
“It was different for everybody,” said Sullivan. “Some got a little head wind, some got a little tail wind. And then, for Reichelt, the sun is out.”
Hannes Reichelt, the 45th starter, skied a brilliant run and take nothing from him for he executed flawlessly on a hill that punishes the slightest mistake. The Austrian interrupted interviews as he ran to a podium finish, and took over as the top Austrian finisher.
He, and the rest of the podium placing skiers, did not feel conditions played a very big role, if any.
“Conditions,” he said, “were stable.”
Bode Miller, an early racer in bib nine, fell behind early leaders, and then almost inexplicably, started making up time and took the early lead. He eventually got bumped back to finish the same place he started, in ninth. Sullivan got 24th and Travis Ganong 27th for points. Erik Fisher was just out of the points in 35th. Wiley Maple was 38th, Andrew Weibrecht 51st and Ryan Cochran-Siegle crashed out in his first World Cup start.
Canadian Jan Hudec posted the top host marks in 12th, while his teammate Erik Guay, the fastest in the final training run, had an amazingly bad time of it to finish in 44th. Robbie Dixon was 25th, Ben Thomsen 34th, Louis-Pierre Helie 46th, Kelby Halbert 52nd, Ryan Semple 59th, Conrad Pridy 59th and Dustin Cook 63rd.
Cuche photo by Gepa
by Hank McKee
Lake Louise, CAN
Nov. 26, 2011
1 Cuche, Head/Head/Head
2 Feuz, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Baumann, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Kroell, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Clarey, Head/Head/Head
6 Theaux, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Puchner, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Miller, Head/Head/Head
10 Streitberger, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Men’s World Cup downhill, Lake Louise, Canada, Nov. 26, 2011. … It is the second race of the men’s 45 race 2011-12 World Cup schedule, the first of 11 scheduled downhills. … It is the 81st Cup race held at Lake Louise. … and the 49th downhill.
It is the 18th career World Cup win for Didier Cuche. … His tenth in downhill and second in DH at Lake Louise having also won the race in 2009.
It is the third career World Cup podium for Beat Feuz, the other two a win and a third coming back-to-back at Kvitfjell, both in DH, last season (March 11, 12).
It is the 13th career World Cup podium for Hannes Reichelt, his first in downhill. … He owns four Cup super G wins and one GS win.
It is the 147th career World Cup top 10 for Bode Miller. … his 48th in DH. … It is his sixth top 10 scored at Lake Louise, but just the second since 2004. … It is the 11th best of 28 career Cup scoring results. … It is his fifth best of nine results scored at Lake Louise. … Marco Sullivan matches his 42nd best career Cup result. … 29th best in DH. … it is his sixth best of seven Lake Louise results. … It is the 23rd best of 26 Cup scoring results for Robbie Dixon. … his sixth best of six results at Lake Louise. … It is the third best of six career World Cup scoring results for Travis Ganong. … his second best at Lake Louise.
After two races Austria leads the Nations Cup 376-286 over France. …Switzerland is third with 276pts and the U.S. fourth with 169. … Canada sits eighth with 37pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|14||14||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:48.53||15.50|
|Did not finish 1st run|