Miller and Cuche place on the podium in Chamonix
HEAD World Cup Rebels Bode Miller and Didier Cuche both came within a whisker of winning the 7th World Cup Downhill race of the season in Chamonix. In one of the closest finishes to a race, Miller was just one hundredth behind race winner Klaus Kroell while Cuche, winner the two previous downhill races, was just four hundredths off the win in third. This downhill was the one originally scheduled for Val Gardena that was cancelled with Johan Clarey leading in December.
The cold weather saw temperatures of -16C at the start and -11C in the finish yet this had little effect in slowing the racers down. While Kroell edged out Erik Guay from the lead from his start slot, Miller, who followed the Austrian down, looked to be blitzing the times set at all the top splits. Miller claimed after the race to have lost his line occasionally on the top section of the course yet his times were still impressive as he challenged the Austrian’s time adding “I really have to take a risk up there to challenge those guys out there. I am always prepared to take a risk; it’s one of my strengths anyway. I am just going to try to be a little bit more on the spot; the bottom section is where I loose time here every year.”
Going down two after Miller, Cuche was looking to complete his first hat-trick in his nineteen year long World Cup career. While he too was faster than Kroell, snow had started to fall gently and this was affecting the speed the racers were able to make. After the fresh snow earlier in the week that had caused the first training run to be cancelled, the cloud and cold weather meant the weather played its cards again! Talking after the race Cuche said: “There was a lot of fresh snow on the course, you had to follow the track and try not to go out of it in the glide section,” Cuche said. “In the top section, I didn’t ski really good. Some other guys were really strong there. I’ll have to watch today’s video in order to see what I can make better for tomorrow.”
After his disappointment from Garmisch, Aksel Lund Svindal made it back into the top 10 with eighth place. Just a couple of places behind Svindal was Ben Thomsen from Canada who had started near the end (50) and made 11th place.
With four races left in the Downhill season Didier Cuche still leads but having lost 40 points to Kroell, every race and every point is vital in the race for the Downhill Globe. Cuche leads by 30 points at the moment.
1. Klaus Kroell (AUT)
2. Bode Miller (USA) HEAD
3. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD
8. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
11. Ben Thomsen (CAN) HEAD
22. Johan Clarey (FRA) HEAD