Cuche celebrates record victory in Kitzbühel

21st January 2012, by Chris Gill

(c)  - Cuche in action

(c) - Cuche in action

Just days after announcing his retirement from competitive alpine racing, Didier Cuche has won the Hahenkamm race in Kitzbühel – and has broken a record on the Austrian course.

Cuche, 37, becomes the first man to claim five wins on the famous Streif course, clocking up a victory time of 1:13.28. And it took place in difficult conditions. The race went ahead despite heavy snowfall in the region, albeit on a shortened course.

The Swiss skier, already the oldest man to win a World Cup race, overtakes Austrian great Franz Klammer who won the downhill in Kitzbühel four times in the 1970s and 80s. Saturday’s win put him ahead of Austrian pair Romed Baumann (second) and Klaus Kröll (third) by 0.24 and 0.30 seconds. Young Swiss star Beat Feuz, who won in Wengen last week, came sixth.

Cuche is the reigning World Cup downhill and Super-G champion. But at 37 years old, and following a disappointing result in Wengen last week, the Swiss skier announced his retirement at the end of this winter season. He’s going out on a high with this latest triumph.

There was uncertainty about whether the race would go ahead, given the poor weather conditions in the area; but the organisers chose to lower the starting gate, meaning the slope was a 2km run instead of the usual 3.3km. The snowfall is expected to persist all day.

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