Raich Wins Chamonix Super-Combi, Miller Third

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February 3, 2006

CHAMONIX, France (AP by Erica Bulman)—Benjamin Raich of Austria rallied from 17th place after the downhill leg to win a men's World Cup super-combi Friday, while American Bode Miller finished third after a nine-day break from racing.

Raich completed the morning's shortened downhill and lengthy slalom to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 36.48 seconds and extend his lead atop the overall standings. Teammate Rainer Schoenfelder was runner-up in 2:37.31.

Miller, returning from a golfing break in Dubai, placed third in 2:37.47 for his third podium result in the combined this season. The reigning overall champion, Miller is a favorite for the Olympic title later this month.

Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, who posted the fastest time in the morning's downhill leg, finished eighth. American Ted Ligety was 10th.

Hermann Maier, who initially hoped to get a strong result ahead of the Olympic combined event, was third-quickest in the downhill but later withdrew from the race in protest over the format. He argued that the downhill had been shortened too much and the slalom leg was too long, favoring the technical skiers.

``This is not fair this way,'' Maier said. ``It looks like they try to get two slalom runs in one now. It's not good for downhillers. Slalom skiers have a big advantage.''

Maier is considering competing in the traditional combined event _ which adds the times from a downhill to the times of two slalom legs _ at the Olympics.

Michael Walchhofer, who tied for fourth, Raich and Schoenfelder have three of the four berths available on the Austrian squad. The fourth Austrian intended to compete, Mario Matt, crashed in Wednesday's downhill training session and went home.

It is uncertain whether he will compete at the Turin Olympics.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press