Miller Wins World Cup Opener

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SOELDEN, Austria Oct. 26, 2003 (USSA)--Bode Miller had the fastest time on both runs Sunday to capture the opening men's World Cup race of the season by more than a second on an icy course set on the Rettenbach Glacier. No other U.S. skier made the second run.

Miller started seventh in the first run. He held a lead of nine-hundredths of a second over Frenchman Fredric Covili going into the final run — and he tore through the sun-bathed second course, which organizers iced after clearing a late-week storm that dumped about eight inches on the glacier.

"I didn't really ski my best the first run," Miller said, "so to have the lead really gave me confidence. I was taking some risk in the second run, but I knew I had to. I felt really comfortable and when I crossed the finish line I knew I had won."

The victory is the seventh of Miller's career, in addition to his dramatic wins in giant slalom and combined at the 2003 World Championships. His last World Cup win came Jan. 6 in a GS in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Miller, a Carrabassett Valley Academy (and Franconia Ski Club) product who's in his eighth season on the U.S. Ski Team, has won four World Cup giant slaloms, three slaloms.

Covili's time was 2:10.70 with Joel Chenal, also from France, third (2:10.76). Austrian Stephan Eberharter, the defending overall World Cup champ who had won on the Rettenbach the last two seasons, was eighth.

Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who battled a cold during the week, missed the top-30 cut for the second run by .03. Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT), bronze medalist behind Miller at the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, saw one ski delaminate early in his run and was unable to finish.

The World Cup heads next to North America. The men start the continuous racing phase of their schedule Nov. 22-23 with another GS and a slalom at the Chevy Truck America's Opening in Park City, UT. The women, who opened their season Saturday with Germany's Martina Ertl winning a GS and Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) finishing seventh — the best U.S. women's result since these early season races got underway in October 1993, are off until Nov. 28-29 with the second weekend of America's Opening GS/SL racing in Park City.