Buechel Wins Super G in Germany


GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany Feb. 23, 2003 (AP by Erica Bulman)--Marco Buechel won a super giant slalom Sunday for his first World Cup victory in a race in which Bode Miller hurt his chances for the overall title.

Buechel finished just ahead of World Cup overall leader Stephan Eberharter of Austria and gave Liechtenstein its first victory in nine years. Tobias Gruenenfelder of Switzerland was third.

For the United States, Daron Rahlves finished eighth and Miller, second to Eberharter in the overall standings, veered off the course.

Miller ended in a spray of snow after losing control on the upper section of the course. But the master of recoveries was unable to produce one this time.

Miller finished 28th in Saturday's downhill and now heads to the races in Asia trailing Eberharter by 185 points. However, the upcoming technical races play to Miller's strength.

``The World Cup is not yet decided,'' Eberharter said. ``I guess we will have to wait the last races to know the overall winner.''

Next weekend, a giant slalom and a slalom are scheduled in Yong Pyong, South Korea. The skiers then fly to Shiga Kogen in Japan before returning to Europe. The finals are in Lillehammer, Norway, the site of the 1994 Olympics.

``Going to Korea will be key in catching Eberharter,'' Miller said. ``The circuit moving to Asia favors North Americans who are used to traveling. It's an advantage for us. In Europe, they're not used to going far or for long periods of time.''

The last Liechtenstein skier to win was Achim Vogt in a giant slalom in 1994. Buechel became just the fifth skier from Liechtenstein to win on the men's World Cup circuit. It also was the principality's first Super G victory since Andreas Wenzel won on the same hill in 1984.

``I just can't believe what has just happened,'' said the beaming 31-year-old Buechel. ``It's been such a long wait but it's worth it.

``It will probably only sink in tonight. I told my wife to hold onto me tight when I get home because I'll probably be singing, jumping and dancing, just going crazy.''

Buechel recovered after nearly losing balance midway down the icy Kandahar course and finished in 1 minute, 16.13 seconds.

Eberharter lost time at the bottom and finished in 1:16.26. Gruenenfelder was third in 1:16.33.

``When I saw Eberharter's time, I just couldn't believe he was behind me,'' Buechel said. ``It's crazy.''

Buechel rebounded from a poor showing at the world championships, where he finished 18th in the downhill and 11th in the Super G.

Didier Cuche finished out of the top 10 and fell from the lead of the Super G standings. Buechel is first with 280 points and Eberharter is second with 256.

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