World Cup According to Grande: Cuche is the Champ

Vonn Takes Lead, Jules Ends Drought

By Greg Needell
Alpine Race Consulting

It was quite a day in Lenzerheide, Switzerland Wednesday. Didier Cuche locked up the Downhill Title, Lindsey Vonn went into the lead with another Riesch meltdown and Julia Mancuso won her first World Cup race since a Downhill win in Tarvisio four years ago.

Cuche locked up the title today with a little help from Walchhofer. Cuche finished 4th in a tie with Christof Innerhofer while Walchhofer could only manage 11th place on the Pista Silvano Beltrametti. For those of you who don't know or don't remember, Silvano is a former Swiss Ski Team rising star that was paralyzed in a crash in 2001 in Val d'Isere. He was 22 when he crashed 9 seasons ago. The track in Lenzerheide was named after Silvano when it was built for the finals in 2005. Silvano attends the race in Lenzerheide every year and sits in his wheelchair in his place of honor in the finish area. The win went to Adrien Theaux and Joachim Puchner of Austria was second with Aksel Svindal grabbing the last step on the podium. Theaux and Puchner are names we are going to have to get used to being near the top. But the day, and season, belongs to Cuche. By now, they have long-since handed out the downhill crystal and the winners teams are doing a little celebrating. Hopp Schweiz or I guess Hop Suisse for Cuche.

The Riesch scoring slump continued Tuesday as she finished outside the points. In the last three starts, she has scored two points. That is 2, the number. In that time, of which two starts were in slalom and GS, Lindsey has scored 125 and has taken the lead in the overall chase. She now has a 27 point lead with Super G Thursday. I am sure Lins is feeling confident and Maria is not but this should go down to the last run on the last day. The girls have Super G Thursday, followed by slalom and then GS. I am sure Lins would like to put some more pressure on Maria with an outright win and maybe getting more help from a struggling ski racer. Right now, all things are basically equal and Maria has allowed it to happen.