Didier Cuche celebrates a record fifth win at the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel (Getty Images/AFP/Samuel Kubani)
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 21) - Swiss Didier Cuche won a historic fifth Hahnenkamm downhill Saturday to surpass Austrian legend Franz Klammer for the most downhill wins at Kitzbuehel. Klammer, covered in wet snow, was in the race finish to congratulate Cuche, who announced Thursday that he will retire from the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour at the end of the season. Heavy snow fell overnight and throughout the race forcing the jury to shorten the notorious Streif by three quarters of a second.
Swiss Didier Cuche won a historic fifth (and third straight) Hahnenkamm downhill
Cuche surpassed Austrian great Franz Klammer for the most downhill wins at Kitzbuehel
Over a foot of overnight snow and wet snowfall throughout the race forced the jury to shorten the race
The race started on the Alte Schneise below the treacherous Mausefalle and Steilhang sections
The shortened course made for a very tight race as top 20 were all within .91 seconds of each other.
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) posted the top U.S. result with a personal best 12th
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) made a spectacular recovery from a near crash just below the Hausberg jump to finish 29th
Miller hit a bump after the Hausberg jump, nearly lost his right ski, was thrown sideways and miraculously pulled it back to make the next gate
A slalom is scheduled for Sunday with points and prize money also being awarded in a traditional combined
QUOTES Bode Miller This was less than ideal conditions but in any race, someone is going to win. It's no fluke that Didier won. He's great off this start position and he's always strong in that middle section - that's where he's won this race a few times.
For me I was pushing pretty hard and I knew I had to take some risks, but there's not a lot of risks to be had on this course because there's not that much to it.
I made a save down here and it feels pretty good to make a save like that. Those are life savers, 100 points is great, but I'd much rather be in the finish with all my parts intact. For me, that's in some ways better than a win, so I'm really happy.
Franz Klammer That was an incredible save by Bode. The fans love seeing skiing like that just as much as they love seeing wins.
Travis Ganong It was incredibly snowy and the lower start changes everything on this hill. It's a lot easier starting where we did. The bottom side hill is still pretty intimidating, but it's still really fun.
We look forward to this race every year and running from the top is just a blast. You're missing a lot when you start where we did today, but it's still a ski race and you still the fastests one from the top to the bottom who wins.
Marco Sullivan This was a crazy race. It was really short for a downhill and you had to be fired up right out of the start and go as hard as you can. It's pretty rare to not be tired in the finish after a downhill, especially in Kitzbuehel.
The weather is unfortunate, but everyone made the best of it. There's so much build up to this race and to only run half the course is a bummer, but that's our sport and I hope I'm back next year to run the whole thing.