World Cup skiing | Travis Ganong leads Americans at Kitzbuehel | SierraSun.com

World Cup skiing | Travis Ganong leads Americans at Kitzbuehel

Sun Staff and U.S. Ski Team report
Malcolm Carmichael / Alpine CanadaTravis Ganong in the second downhill training run at Kitzbuehel. Ganong finished 12th in the race to lead the American contingent.
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KITZBUEHEL, Austria and#8212; Swiss Didier Cuche won a historic fifth Hahnenkamm downhill in Austria on Saturday, while Squaw Valley’s Travis Ganong led the American men with a career-best 12th-place finish.

Cuche, who announced Thursday that he will retire from the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour at the end of the season, surpassed Austrian legend Franz Klammer for the most downhill wins at Kitzbuehel.

Heavy snow fell overnight and throughout the race, forcing the jury to shorten the notorious downhill course by three quarters of a second.

and#8220;It was incredibly snowy and the lower start changes everything on this hill,and#8221; Ganong said of the race. and#8220;It’s a lot easier starting where we did. The bottom side hill is still pretty intimidating, but it’s still really fun.and#8221;

The race started on the Alte Schneise below the treacherous Mausefalle and Steilhang sections, which made for a tight race as the top 20 finishers were all within .91 seconds of each other.

and#8220;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 it’s still the fastest one from the top to the bottom who wins,and#8221; said Ganong.

Cuche posted a winning time of 1:13.28 and was followed by Austrians Romed Baumann (1:13.52) and Klaus Kroell (1:13.58) rounding out the podium. Ganong recorded a time of 1:13.92 to finish 12th as another Squaw Valley skier, Marco Sullivan, was 17th in 1:13.99.

and#8220;This was a crazy race,and#8221; said Sullivan. and#8220;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.and#8221;

Bode Miller was 29th after making a spectacular recovery from a near crash just below the Hausberg jump. Miller hit a bump after the jump, nearly lost his right ski, was thrown sideways and somehow managed to pull it back to make the next gate.

and#8220;I made a save down here and it feels pretty good to make a save like that,and#8221; Miller said. and#8220;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.and#8221;