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Cuche wins the Hahnenkamm
Saturday January 21, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

It is the stuff of dreams. The veteran racer announces his retirement and then goes on to win the most famous downhill race of them all for a record 5 times.

The race was hampered by poor weather with heavy snow falling but that didn't seem to bother Cuche.

The 37-year-old Swiss crowned his racing career in style in Kitzbuehel.

Watching was the Austrian legend, Franz Klammer, who won the Hahnenkamm four times in the 1970s and 1980s.

Only one other skier has defended the Hahnenkamm Downhill title three times in a row. Franz Klammer.

Klammer was among the first to congratulate him saying "he's now the emperor of Kitzbuehel".

Cuche also became the oldest winner of a World Cup race.

"The special pressure of racing in Kitzbuehel makes me even stronger," said Cuche before the race. "On this course, I am more alert, I am able to get everything out of myself."

Due to the weather a temporary start was set up at the Alte Schneise, 300 metres down the Hahnenkamm. It reduced the course by 1,300 metres to 2,000m.

It was still a tight race with eight racers finishing within half a second of the winner.

He took 1 minute 13.28 seconds in heavy snowfall to beat Austrian pair of Romed Baumann and Klaus Kröll.

"I really couldn't wish for a better ending," he said.

Cuche is the reigning World Cup downhill and Super-G champion and he has won  downhill titles in 2010, 2008 and 2007, and the giant slalom crown in 2009.

He is quite simply one of the best racers ever though the Lauberhorn in Wengen has eluded him as has an Olympic Gold medal.

He has 18 World Cup victories, stood on the podium 61 times and has had 171 top ten finishes.

He is also an Olympic silver medallist and has won a total of four World Championships medals.

After his victory he was asked if he was disappointed not to race from the top.

"An athlete does not really think about these kind of things because you have to stay focused on the racing to try to win. We saw the course in the morning during inspection and it was in a great shape in the top section and a big compliment to the organisers, who had worked like crazy all night long. I am not really disappointed that we did not race from the top though; because on my last run from the top I also won."

The racing scene next season will be a poorer place without him.

For the spirit of the mountains

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