Surprise package Kueng wins downhill

Sat Feb 7, 2015 3:59pm EST
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By Steve Keating

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Patrick Kueng rocketed to victory in the men's blue riband downhill at the alpine world ski championships on Saturday, as Switzerland put an end to Austrian fun and domination.

Cowbells were clanging as 31-year-old Kueng, whose resume includes just two World Cup victories, produced a blistering run down a sun-kissed Birds of Prey track, clocking a winning time of one minute, 43.18 seconds.

"It's incredible, I had a really good run, my skis are so fast," said Kueng. "I am so happy with this day.

"When you start 19th and have the green light (top time) it is really good."

Completing a spectacular day for the Swiss, Kueng was joined on the podium by countryman Beat Feuz, who took third behind American Travis Ganong.

Ganong gave the U.S. their best result of the championships, taking silver to the delight of raucous home crowd.

It was a first world championship medal for all three men as the favorites faltered, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, winner of three downhills this season, crossing 15th and Olympic gold medalist Matthias Mayer of Austria finishing 12th.

The Swiss-Austrian rivalry on the downhill is one of winter sport's most heated with national pride and bragging riding on every race.   Continued...

Patrick Kueng of Switzerland speeds down during the men's Alpine Skiing World Cup Downhill race in Kitzbuehel January 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler