Swiss Show Strength in Shortened Second Training Run
Seeking to make it three-in-a-row come Saturday’s famed Lauberhorn downhill, Switzerland exhibited their strength on the home piste as Didier Cuche and last year’s champion, Carlo Janka placed 1-3 in training Wednesday in Wengen.
Cuche posted a time of 1:50.31, 0.86 faster than Italy’s Werner Heel who was second, while Janka completed his run 1.21 behind his veteran teammate.
About an hour before the scheduled 12:30 start, FIS officials made the decision to lower the start to the Super Combined starthouse, just above the Hundschopt Jump with the chance of snow and wind gusts in the forecast. Taking into account the level of where the winds could possibly be strongest, the move was made to avoid any potential delays.
Under cloudy skies, training went off without a hitch, and Cuche took full advantage.
“I’m happy with the progress that I made on the lower section compared to yesterday,” said Cuche after his run. “Yesterday I lost all of my time at the top.”
Having successfully completed two training runs in Wengen, FIS officials decided to cancel tomorrow’s third schedule training.
“Now we have to go Saturday in the race without skiing the top again,” continued the 36-year-old Swiss veteran. “I know where I have to ski, it’s just going to be a question of catching the right timing on the first right turn which brings you the speed almost all the way to the Hundschopt (Jump).”
Cuche has finished second at the Lauberhorn twice, back in 2007 and 2008, both times being beaten only by American Bode Miller.
For the defending overall champion Janka – who lies tenth in the overall standings and could use a big result, today was a strong confidence booster as he attempts to defend his 2010 Lauberhorn title.
“I’m really happy with this run today. It was not perfect, I made a few little mistakes,” said the 26-year-old Swiss. “With these two trainings, I’m ready for the race.”
At last year’s Lauberhorn, Janka won by a highly impressive 0.66 seconds, wowing the home fans with a scintillating performance.
“A lot of good emotions from last year, good memories,” said Janka. “It’s a pleasure to come back here and I’m enjoying it.”
Austria’s Michael Walchhofer, who will race his farewell Lauberhorn downhill come Saturday, finished tied for eighth along with teammate Klaus Kroell, 1.48 off Cuche’s mark.
Mario Scheiber and Georg Stretiberger respectively completed their runs in sixth and seventh placing four Austrians among the top ten.
Slovenia’s Andrej Jerman, winner of the 2010 Bormio downhill, was fourth, 1.27 off of Cuche’s time.
American Steven Nyman had a more than respectable run finishing in fifth (+1.36) while his teammate and two-time Lauberhorn champion, Bode Miller, was 14th.
With the cancellation of tomorrow’s training, next up is Friday’s Super-Combined, where America’s Miller is the defending champion.
Saturday’s Lauberhorn downhill is the 81st edition of the venerable race.
-Written by Brian Pinelli
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