Cuche captures Lake Louise downhill

Updated: November 28, 2009, 11:08 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta -- Didier Cuche of Switzerland won the season-opening downhill Saturday on the World Cup circuit.

Cuche, third in last season's overall standings, earned his 11th World Cup victory.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "I've had a really hard time in Lake Louise to be fast."

He won by nearly a half-second and was timed in 1 minute, 50.31 seconds. He was followed by Italy's Werner Heel in 1:50.75 and Switzerland's Carlo Janka in 1:50.93.

Bode Miller, back with the U.S. Ski Team this season, finished 29th.

The race was delayed about a half-hour after a spill by American skier TJ Lanning. He fell headfirst into the snow and crashed into the fence. He was sitting up and moving when officials arrived.

The U.S. Ski Team later said Lanning had a left knee injury and was flown to a hospital for tests.

"What happened to TJ is a bummer. He's one of my really good buddies, so it definitely put a shadow over everything," said Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid, N.Y., who was the top American in 12th place.

He won by nearly a half-second and was timed in 1 minute 50.31 seconds. He was followed by Italy's Werner Heel in 1:50.75 and Switzerland's Carlo Janka in 1:50.93.

Canada's John Kucera, who won the super-giant slalom at Lake Louise three years ago and was second in the event last season, finished sixth. He was impressed with Cuche's performance ay age 35.

"He's skiing well," Kucera said. "He's strong in three disciplines and he's going to be a favorite in every single race this year."

The race was delayed about a half hour after a spill by American skier T.J. Lanning. He fell headfirst into the snow and crashed into the fence. He was sitting up and moving when officials arrived.

The season-opening super-giant slalom is Sunday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press