Rahlves on Podium Again, Takes 2nd at Garmisch DH

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GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Jan. 30 2004 (AP by Nesha Starcevic)--Didier Cuche gave Switzerland its first World Cup victory of the season when he won Friday's downhill ahead of American Daron Rahlves.

Cuche mastered the sun-drenched Kandahar course in one minute, 59.49 seconds for his fifth career victory.

Rahlves continued his streak of podium finishes. He won last week's Super-G in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and was second and third in a pair of downhill races there. His time Friday was 1:59.57.

Austria's Stephan Eberharter, who won one of the Kitzbuehel downhills, was third in 1:59.70. He remained in the lead in downhill standings.

Fritz Strobl, the reigning Olympic downhill champion, was fourth, ahead of fellow Austrian Hermann Maier.

Maier, a two-time Olympic champion, is in his first full season after nearly losing a leg in a motorcycle accident. The Austrian superstar won his first race in Garmisch in 1997.

Benjamin Raich of Austria, who doesn't race downhills, stayed in the lead in overall World Cup standings.

Friday's race replaced a downhill that had be called off in Wengen, Switzerland, because of bad weather. Another downhill is slated for Saturday, with a super-G scheduled for Sunday.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press