Schoenfelder Edges Miller in Swiss Slalom

Schoenfelder 02 08 04

ADELBODEN, Switzerland, Feb. 8 2004 (AP by Erica Bulman) -- Austria's Rainer Schoenfelder edged Bode Miller on a snowy, blustery day to win a World Cup slalom for his first victory in a year.

Schoenfelder, third after the opening leg, made a strong second run Sunday for a combined time of 1 minute, 44.98 seconds.

"I was close to tears after I realized I won," Schoenfelder said. "I was never a good racer in bad conditions."

Miller charged from fourth after the opening leg to finish in 1:45.17, just 0.19 seconds behind. Austria's Benjamin Raich was third and took the lead in the overall standings. Miller's U.S. teammate Chip Knight was 20th.

Miller has struggled this year in slalom, with only one top-three result. He failed to finish four other slaloms this season.

"This is the way I like to ski slalom," Miller said. "My second run I was on the edge the whole way down. This is an incredibly difficult hill."

"Yesterday I came away with an empty feeling," he added. "I wanted to show what I could do on this hill today."

Miller, who went off the course in Saturday's giant slalom, is trying to gain on the speed specialists in the race for the overall title.

Raich moved into the overall lead with 985 points followed by two countrymen: Hermann Maier (954) and Stephan Eberharter (881). Miller is fourth (852).

Raich, winner of two slaloms this season, finished in 1:45.48. He nearly didn't race in Adelboden after sustaining a concussion and whiplash in last weekend's crash in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

"I spent two days resting in a dark room," he said. "I feel so much better."

This was Schoenfelder's first victory since Shiga Kogen, Japan, late last February, where he shared first with Finland's Kalle Palander. This season he was a runner-up twice and third once.

Schoenfelder took the lead in the slalom standings with 455 points, with Raich dropping to second at 442.

Finland's Kalle Palander, the defending slalom World Cup champion and the winner of Saturday's race, went out in the first leg. Just half the racers finished the opening run.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press