Updated: Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:11 | By Agence France-Presse

Kueng upsets Wengen field to claim maiden downhill

Swiss upstart Patrick Kueng dominated a shortened Wengen downhill on Saturday to claim his first ever World Cup win in the sport's blue-riband event.


Kueng upsets Wengen field to claim maiden downhill

Patrick Kueng of Switzerland reacts after competing in the FIS men's Alpine World Cup downhill in Wengen on January 18, 2014 - by Fabrice Coffrini

Austrian Hannes Reichelt finished second at 0.06sec with Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, the World Cup downhill and overall leader, completing the podium after finishing 0.07 off Kueng's winning time of 1min 32.66sec.

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.

Organisers shortened the course to 2.68 km in length and dropped the start from 2,315 metres in altitude to 1900 -- 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 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 Kueng completed the course 0.24secs quicker.

Franz eventually finished just off the podium in fourth, with Miller fifth at 0.35.

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.

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