Wengen, Switzerland Jan. 13, 2002 (USSA)--Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) shook off a boot problem on his first run Sunday to post the second-fastest second run, moving into sixth place in a World Cup slalom and second in the first combined calculation of the season. Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) was 11th and three more U.S. skiers were in the top 25 behind Croatian Ivica Kostelic, who by one-hundredth of a second.
Outdoor Life Network will carry coverage of the slalom Thursday night at 8 EST.
Kostelic, whose breakthrough victory came seven weeks ago at the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational in Colorado, finished in 1:42.29 with Slovenian Mitja Kunc just .01 back. Edoardo Zardini of Italy came out of the 63rd start to finish third in 1:42.61.
Miller finished in 1:43.11 with Schlopy down in a two-run time of 1:43.50. The performance, coupled with Saturday's downhill, put Miller in second place in combined behind Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway and gave him 120 World Cup points -- 80 for combined, 40 for SL -- for the day as he moved closer to Austrian leader Stephan Eberharter.
But it was an American attack for World Cup points and to increase Olympic possibilities. Behind Miller and Schlopy -- who already have qualified forFebruary's Winter Games in Utah, Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) met one of the top Olympic criteria with his second top-20, finishing 17th. Sacha Gros (Vail, CO) had his first top-20, finishing 20th, while World Cup rooking Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA) collected the first World Cup points of his career in 25th place.
"It was a huge day for us, an outstanding team effort," said Head SL/GS Coach Jesse Hunt.
"Bode ripped on that second run, just ripped it .06 behind Canadian Thomas Grandi, who had the fastest time. First run, Bode had a problem with his boot or his binding. H had a hard time, he said, feeling his edge so he skied a little more conservatively. He wanted to stay in contention for the combined. He's figuring out the tactics and strategy...but he really put it down in his second run.
"And skiing combined gave him a chance to get some downhill training, a good chance to get some wind in his face."
Schlopy's result was his top World Cup finish of the season as he's battled lingering bronchitis since late summer. ""This has to be a good confidence-builder for Erik, a good step back for him. He had an outstanding first run ninth and then skied a little tentatively on his second run, but that was good. Erik wanted that finish and that's good thinking."
As indicated by Zardini's finish, Hunt said, conditions were excellent. Five skiers from outside No. 40 start scored points. "The courses held up beautifully...no problem," the coach said.
The men's tour heads to Kitzbuehel, Austria, for the annual Hahnenkamm Weekend with three races -- a super G, the Hahnenkamm downhill and a slalom leading to the second and final combined calculation of the winter.