KVITFJELL, Norway March 7, 2004 (AP by Stephan Nasstrom)- Stephan Eberharter won the next-to-last World Cup downhill Saturday to clinch his third straight season title in the discipline, and Bode Miller finished 26th to lose his lead in the overall standings.
Eberharter sped down the Lillehammer Olympics course in 1 minute, 43.41 seconds for his fourth downhill victory this season. Austrian teammate Fritz Strobl was 0.04 behind and France's Antoine Deneriaz was third, 0.36 back.
Hermann Maier, the three-time overall champion, finished ninth but it was enough for the Austrian to take the overall lead from Miller.
Miller was greeted by a big banner in the finishing area saying ``Go Bode Go.'' But Miller, trying to become the first American man to win the overall crown since Phil Mahre in 1983, wound up way back in one of his worst disciplines and added only five points to his total.
Daron Rahlves, Miller's teammate, was fourth. Rahlves won back-to-back downhills in Kvitfjell during his breakthrough season four years ago.
Eberharter has won four of the eight downhills and super giant slalom races at Kvitfjell since 2001.
``It was a perfect day for me,'' he said.
With five races left, Maier leads the overall standings with 1,105 points. Miller has 1,089 and Eberharter 1,061. A win is worth 100 points.
Eberharter is the defending overall champion, finishing ahead of Miller last season for his second straight crown.
``I'm happy to win the downhill title,'' Eberharter said. ``I'm not thinking about the overall, but I'm in good position. I'll just take it easy.''
Maier failed to catch Eberharter in the downhill standings. With one downhill left at this month's World Cup Finals in Sestriere, Italy, Eberharter has an unbeatable 234-point lead (771-537).
Maier won the overall titles in 1997-98, 1999-00 and 2000-01. He and Eberharter probably have the best chance at the overall crown.
After Sunday's super giant slalom at this site, one race remains in each discipline (slalom, giant slalom, downhill and super-G) at the World Cup Finals. Click below for full results
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