BEAVER CREEK, CO. Dec. 8, 2002 (USSA)-- Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) continued his impressive transition from slalom and GS racing to a World Cup four-event racer Sunday, posting the fastest time up-top and finishing sixth overall. It was his fourth straight top-10 in super G on the final day of the Chevy Truck Birds of Prey races. Didier Cuche of Switzerland won in 1:18.83 while Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) finished 13th.
ESPN will televise coverage from the Birds of Prey races Thursday from 2-4 p.m. EST.
It's the fourth win of Cuche's career, his first in super G since the '98 season as the top three skiers were just one-tenth of a second apart. Runnerup was Liechtensteiner Marco Buechel (1:18.91), while Austrian Hannes Trinkl finished third (1:18.93). Two more Swiss skiers completed the top-five; Cuche's victorious run came after a 10-minute course delay as course workers repaired a section of the safety net after Fritz Strobl of Austria plowed through two layers of it. Strobl was not injured and skied down unimpaired.
Vonn was 13th, Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) started 52nd and finished 22nd, while Jake Fiala (Frisco, CO), who's on the rebound after two struggling seasons, scored points for the second race in a row with an impressive 26th place despite a No. 58 start. Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA) went out on a steep, turny section at the top.
Miller, coming off a season in which he was No. 2 in slalom, No. 4 overall, said he hoped to ski more speed races in his bid to eventually become the overall World Cup champion. He was seventh in two speed races a week earlier in Canada and eighth Saturday in downhill. Sunday, Miller had the fastest time in the first section, skied conservatively through the middle and was third fastest on the bottom.
MILLER: "TAKING LOT OF RISKS..."
"I was trying to be clean on the top where I needed to make speed. Unfortunately, the set was pretty challenging today; that's where you saw a lot of the guys go out," Miller said. "I was taking a lot of risks up there and I made it work, kind of?
"I just made stupid mistakes from there, the same thing I did (Saturday) in the downhill except this time I just got late and misjudged one of the turns; I got compressed and really low and late. I skied well in the bottom, too," the Carrabassett Valley Academy product said, "but you can't make mistakes on a course like this. The times are so close?
"You can't make any mistakes if you want to be on the top."
He added, "I didn't ski clean. I had a ton more speed in me, but I stayed on the course, which is good and the objective up there today. I wanted to make it down without blowing out."
VONN, SCHLOPY SETTLED THEIR NERVES
Vonn conceded, "I was a little nervous coming into today. I had been getting some equipment dialed-in at Lake Louise and it's working well for me now. I was a second out, which actually I'm happy with for where I am now, and hey, I beat (Austrian Stephan) Eberharter (the current World Cup leader and defending World Cup super G champ who had won the last three speed races in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek)." Eberharter finished 15th.
Schlopy said he was also battling to settle jumpy nerves at the start and skied tentatively in a couple of sections. "I could've been more aggressive," he said. "I had the right line, I was just a little passive. I skied it for the experience as opposed to winning."
The men headed for Europe immediately after the race. Their World Cup schedule resumes Saturday with another downhill.
FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP
Chevy Truck Birds of Prey
Men's Super G
1. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:18.83
2. Marco Buechel, Liechtensteiner, 1:18.91
3. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 1:18.93
4. Didier Defago, Switzerland, 1:19.02
5. Ambrosi Hoffmann, Switzerland, 1:19.11
6. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:19.12
13. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, NY, 1