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Schladming, Austria (AP) — American Bode Miller won his third slalom race of the season Tuesday, finishing with a combined time of 1 minute, 44.60 seconds.
French skier Jean-Pierre Vidal was second in 1:45.26, followed by Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic in 1:47.05.
“It was a great race. It was a challenging hill, and you can’t back off. If you want to win it, you’ve got to go,” Miller told Austrian state broadcaster ORF. “I saw some great runs out there tonight … and I knew I needed to be pushing it.”
The victory strengthens the 24-year-old’s position as a favorite going into the Salt Lake City Olympics.
“Typically the favorites haven’t had a lot of success, so I hope I can change that,” Miller said.
Miller joined the World Cup in 1998 but had not won any races until this season. Besides his slalom victories, Miller has also won a giant slalom race.
Miller is third in the overall World Cup standings, with 820 points, and second in the slalom standings, with 480.
Austrian Stephan Eberharter, who did not start Tuesday, leads the overall rankings with 1,032 points.
Kostelic leads the slalom standings with 511 points.
Kjetil-Andre Aamodt of Norway, second in overall standings with 851 points, placed ninth, clocking 1:47.54. Rainer Schoenfelder of Austria was fourth in 1:47.10.
More than 40,000 spectators watched the night races.
Schladming SL Men:
1. Bode Miller, USA 01:44.60
2. Jean Pierre Vidal, FRA 01:45.26
3. Ivica Kostelic, CRO 01:47.05
4. Mitja Kunc SLO, 01:47.10
5. Rainer Schönfelder, AUT 01:47.10
16. Tom Rothrock, USA 01:48.79
21. Chip Knight, USA 01:49.41
24. Erik Schlopy, USA 01:49.55