St. Moritz, Switzerland Feb. 3, 2002 (USSA)--Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) headed into his second Winter Olympics Sunday, finishing fourth as World Cup leader Stephan Eberharter of Austria captured a giant slalom for his ninth win of the season, this time by two-hundredths of a second. Dane Spencer (Boise, ID) was 24th and earned a spot in World Cup Finals.
Eberharter led teammate Benjamin Raich by .13 in the first run. At the end, he held off Didier Cuche of Switzerland, who had the fastest second run and jumped from seventh to second. Eberharter s two-run time was 2:32.66 with Cuche timed in 2:32.68 and Austrian Hans Knauss, fastest on the final run, was third at 2:33.04.
Miller, whose four World Cup victories this season three in slalom, one in GS are the most by as U.S. man since Phil Mahre in 1983, was fifth in the first run, .27 back. But he struggled on his second run, posting the 13th-fastest time, to finish fourth in 2:33.32. Spencer, another 2002 Olympic racer, had the seventh-fastest second run and moved up four spots to 24th in 2:35.03.
Cuche had a great second run but Eberharter had two good, solid runs and that gave him just enough to win it, said U.S. Coach Jesse Hunt. Bode skied a little conservative on his second run, on the rolls they ve got up there and that, of course, isn t his style but it was a decent race on what will be the World Championships course next season, so he leaves with some confidence on a tricky course. He knows more about what he ll see next year&
And Dane earned a place at World Cup Finals. He had a solid second run and now he s 25th in the points.
The Americans head home Monday and the Olympians will grab some down time before heading to Utah for processing at the Winter Games. The men s GS is Feb. 21 with the slalom Feb. 23.