December 29, 2006
BORMIO, ITALY – (USST News Bureau Release) – Reigning downhill world champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) had a mistake at the bottom of his run Friday but held on to finish fourth in a World Cup downhill with Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) tied for 12th and Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) in 21st place.
Austrian Michael Walchhofer earned his 10th World Cup win – and his second in 24 hours on Bormio’s Stelvio speed run, with a time of 1:51.82; Italy’s Peter Fill was second (1:52.04) with Mario Scheiber, another Austrian, third for the second day in a row. Miller, who led up to the final timing split, finished in 1:52.21. Miller stands second overall to Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished sixth behind Walchhofer.
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“I felt I skied well but I struggled a little with my line entering that last pitch,” Miller said, explaining the loss of time at the bottom of the 3K course.
“Nice bounce-back from (Thursday),” DH Head Coach Chris Brigham said, referring to the first of the two downhills when Sullivan was the top American, finishing 13th. “Bode skied well but said he was off-line a little on that final pitch, and on that last section, if you’re off, it can really cost you.”
He said conditions remained “fantastic – Bormio really did a good job in preparing the track. This time of year, the top of the course is in and out of the light and then at the bottom it’s lights out (dark shadows). The hill’s difficult enough and then the light makes it quite a challenge…but Mickey (Walchhofer) and Scheiber, who’ve been struggling, skied well.
“It was a super-tight race, typical Bormio. It was men’s World Cup racing at its best again with one guy a little out front and then guys stacked up tight behind him. Steven was 21st but he was only – what? – a second, one-point-two out. That’s tight.
“Bode skied well all the way down…until that bottom section. Marco’s finding his groove and confidence again, so that’s kind of a bonus, and Steven’s only in his second year on the World Cup, and this was his second time in Bormio. He’s got great speed and he’s learning…he’s getting it figured out,” Brigham said.
The men are off until Jan. 6-7 in Adelboden, Switzerland, with a giant slalom and slalom. After 16 races, Svindal leads with 579 points to Miller’s 540. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who did not race in Bormio, is tied for ninth overall (with defending overall champion Benjamin Raich of Austria) and Nyman is 12th.