Beaver Creek, CO. (Dec. 8) USST - Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) continued his impressive transition from slalom and GS racing into a World Cup four-event racer Sunday. Bode posted the fastest time on the top section of the course and ended up finishing in sixth place. Didier Cuche of Switzerland won in 1:18.83 and Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) was 13th.
It's the fourth win of Cuche's career, his first in DH since the '98 season as the top three skiers were just one-tenth of a second apart. Runnerup was Liechtensteiner Marco Buechel (1:18.91) and Austrian Hannes Trinkl finished third (1:18.93) and two more Swiss skiers completed the first five; Cuche's victorious run cam after a 10-minute course delay as course workers repaired a section of safety after Fritz Strobl of Austria plowed through two layers (but was not injured and skied down unimpaired).
Vonn was 13th with Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) starting 52nd and finishing 22nd while Jake Fiala (Frisco, CO), who's on the rebound after two struggling seasons, scoring points for the second race in a row with an impressive 26th place despite a No. 58 start. Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) went out on steep, turny section at the top.
Miller, coming off a season in which he was No. 2 in slalom, No. 4 overall, had said he hoped to ski more speed races in his bid to eventually become the overall World Cup champion. He was seventh in two speed races a week earlier in Canada, eighth Saturday in downhill. Sunday, Miller had the fastest time in the first section, skied conservatively through the middle and was third fastest on the bottom.
MILLER: "TAKING LOT OF RISKS..."
"I was trying to be clean on the top where I needed to make speed. Unfortunately, the set was pretty challenging today; that's where you saw a lot of the guys go out," Miller said. "I was taking a lot of risks up there and I made it work, kind of.
"I just made stupid mistakes from there, the same thing I did (Saturday) in the downhill except this time I just got late and misjudged one of the turns; I got compressed and really low and late. I skied well in the bottom, too," the Carrabassett Valley Academy product said, "but you can't make mistakes on a course like this. The times are so close.
"You can't make any mistakes if you want to be on the top."
He added, "I didn't ski clean. I had a ton more speed in me, but I stayed on the course, which is good-the objective up there today. I wanted to make it down without blowing out."
VONN, SCHLOPY SETTLED THEIR NERVES
Vonn conceded, "I was a little nervous coming into today. I had been getting some equipment dialed-in at Lake Louise and it's working well for me now. I was a second out, which actually I'm happy with for where I am, and hey, I beat (Austrian Stephan) Eberharter (the current World Cup leader and defending World Cup super G champ who had won the last three speed races in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek)." Eberharter finished 15th.
Schlopy said he also was battling to settle jumpy nerves at the start and skied tdentatively in a couple of sections. "I could've been more aggressive," he said. "I had the right line, I was just a little passive. I skied it for the experience as opposed to winning."
The men headed for Europe immediately after the race. Their World Cup schedule resumes Saturday with another downhill.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Chevy Truck Birds of Prey
Beaver Creek, CO, Dec. 8
Men's Super G
1. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:18.83
2. Marco Buechel, Liechtensteiner, 1:18.91
3. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 1:18.93
4. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 1:19.02
5. Ambrosi Hoffmann, Switzerland, 1:19.11
6. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:19.12
13. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, NY, 1