But he was not happy with the course, and as a veteran (age 36) took it upon
himself to complain about a jump on the track. He telephoned FIS Race Director
Guenther Hujara and said, roughly translated: “If you don’t take that jump down and
anything happens I will not hesitate to attack you in public.”
Hujara, apparently, felt threatened enough that he fined Cuche 5,000 Swiss
Cuche said he felt he was “treated like a child,” that he got very little sleep as he
stewed over the incident, and that he now wasn’t sure he would continue to race
The first race day (Friday, March 11) started out looking like the second training
run, but turned foul as a storm front moved in, creating very different conditions for
front and mid-pack runners. Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, in bib No. 5, took the win.
Garmisch’s gold medal winner, Erik Guay, wearing No. 8, was second, and Walch-
hofer, with a great run from the 21st start, was third. Cuche — after being fastest in
training despite displaying extra caution — was fifth. With two downhills remaining,
his standings lead was whittled to 50.
By then the news of the fine had reached the media and the questioning was re-
The race was a first Cup win for Feuz, a triple World Junior medalist in 2007. He
said he wasn’t so much surprised as relieved to have finally shown his speed in a
big-league race. Guay not only got his second downhill podium of the season but
also passed Ken Read on the Canadian all-time ranking for World Cup podiums.
Guay said it had never been a conscious goal, but added: “I grew up watching the
Crazy Canucks. They are a part of Canadian heritage. To now be able to pass him
is very special.” But, he said, “My job is not done yet.”
For Walchhofer, with just two downhills remaining in his long and illustrious career,
the podium placing was fulfilling. “I have an outside shot,” he said of his chances
of catching Cuche for what would be the fourth career World Cup downhill title for
either man — one off the men’s all-time mark owned by Franz Klammer.
Walchhofer was relaxed, calm and skiing well. And he got his sleep.
Cuche was angry, tired of explaining the situation to every reporter on site, and
again tossed and turned all night.
Cuche’s Saturday run (March 12) was far from his best. He finished seventh while
Walchhofer won over teammate Klaus Kroell with Feuz in third. Walchhofer now led
the standings by 14 points with the race at Finals all that stood between himself and
going out a title winner in his final season. Momentum was on his side.
Walchhofer seemed to have regained the form he had shown in December with
wins at Lake Louise and Bormio. It was the third podium of the season for Kro-
Michael Walchhofer skied relaxed and “loose” in taking the downhill win.
sap Cuche of
Cuche said he
super G win.
SkiRacing.com APRIL 7, 2011 | 18