Austrian win on the Lauberhorn

17th January 2011, by Chris Gill

Classic action in the face of the Eiger

Classic action in the face of the Eiger

Austria’s Klaus Kroell has won the 81st Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen, nudging Swiss racers Didier Cuche and Carlo Janka into second and third places. 

Meanwhile, Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic extends his overall lead in the World Cup standings, taking Friday’s super-combined event and Sunday’s slalom.

The results end a superb weekend of classic racing action in front of a 30,000 strong crowd, many in shirt sleeves basking in weather more akin to March than mid-January.

It was a blue-sky day for Saturday’s main race, which hadn’t been the case for the earlier training days. Rain and mild weather have affected the resort recently, preventing the racers from completing the full set of runs.

But on Saturday, Kroell timed 2:31:28 in the downhill, holding a 0.39 second lead against defending champion Janka. Cuche, a fraction faster than Janka, looked as if he might win; but an error near the end of the course cost him time.

Kroell got his third career World Cup win, and his second in downhill. For Cuche, it is the third time he has finished in runner-up position, still aiming to take the prestigious Wengen title. But the 36-year-old Swiss was happy with his performance on the notoriously difficult course, which did its best to catch out the athletes with its gnarly jumps and banked turns.

There was a surprise result in the men’s slalom on Sunday: Canada’s Michael Janyk took fourth place after a blistering performance on the soft Wengen course.

Leading for much of the race, Janyk was eventually overtaken by the top three contenders: Jean Baptiste-Grange of France, Marcel Hirscher of Austria and the eventual winner – Ivica Kostelic.

The racing action now moves to Kitzbühel for next weekend’s classic, the Hahnenkamm!

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