• Switzerland's news in English

Küng wins downhill before home crowd

AFP · 18 Jan 2014, 15:40

Published: 18 Jan 2014 15:40 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Austrian Hannes Reichelt finished second 0.06 seconds back for his fourth podium of the season, with Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, the World Cup downhill and overall leader, completing the podium after finishing 0.07 seconds off Küng's winning time of one minute, 32.66 seconds.
The legendary Wengen downhill, at more than 4.4 kilometres long, is the longest on the circuit but a significant slice of race-day drama was removed when strong winds near the top of the course forced a rethink.
Organizers shortened the course to 2.68 kilometres and dropped the start from 2,315 metres in altitude to 1,900 metres —  although that did not stop much of the field hitting in excess of 150 km/h on the fastest section of the Lauberhorn.
Perhaps because of those changes, a number of big names failed to shine on a bumpy course which, in the past, has often rewarded the sport's all-rounders.
Swiss veteran Didier Defago narrowly avoided crashing into the safety netting while former two-time Wengen winner Bode Miller of the United States missed a potential podium place after a huge mistake near the bottom.
Austrian Max Franz then took the provisional lead in a time of 1:32.90, but two racers later his celebrations ended when Küng completed the course 0.24 seconds quicker.
Franz eventually finished just off the podium in fourth, with Miller fifth.
Canada's Erik Guay, a former world champion, did not finish while Italian duo Peter Fill and Werner Heel, who had both shone in training on the longer course on Wednesday, finished seventh and 15th respectively.
For the 30-year-old Küng, the victory marked a continuation of some good form this season after he won his first World Cup race, a super-G, in Beaver Creek in early December.

 "Since I was a kid, I've been watching this race," Küng said.

"My first dream was to race it and my second dream was to win it," he said.
"Sochi and the Winter Olympics are a big event, but a Swiss winning in Wengen is also a big deal for us."
Küng only made his World Cup debut in 2009 never having broken into the ultra-competitive Swiss ski team for the world championships and Olympics.

But his showing did not come out of the blue for teammate Defago.
"It might come as a surprise to the wider public, but not to us on the Swiss ski team," the veteran said.

Story continues below…

"He's been training well."
Svindal's third place saw the affable Norwegian further extend his lead atop the overall World Cup standings to 757 points, with Austrian Marcel Hirscher in second (675) and American Ted Ligety in third (433), the latter two not having taken part in the downhill.
Svindal also remains in top position in the downhill standings with 360 points, ahead of  Reichelt (260) and Küng (221).

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Switzerland: what's not to miss? Photo: Christian Perret/Swiss Tourim

Former expats in Switzerland tell The Local what they miss about living here.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available