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Miller Narrowly Misses Win


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Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 16, 2001–Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), looking to clean-up some mistakes despite leading the first run as he went for his third World Cup in eight days, missed a gate during his second run Sunday in a World Cup giant slalom won by Frederic Covili of France. Thomas Vonn (Newburgh, NY) was the only U.S. racer to score, setting a personal best mark by finishing 14th.

Covili, who also won the opening GS of the season in late October, had a two-run time of 2:40.58 to edge Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen by .02 with Sami Uotila of Finland stepping onto his first podium as he finished third (2:40.67).

Miller led the first run by four-hundredths of a second but as he headed back to the top of the course for the final run, he said he had made a couple of mistakes and planned to clean them up during his final run. However, skiing aggressively from the start, he skied off course on the top section of the course.

Vonn, whose previous best World Cup result was 17th two years ago — also at Alta Badia, was 22nd in the first run. He moved up to 14th with a total time of 2:41.57.

“Close…he Miller was close,” said men’s slalom/GS Head Coach Jesse Hunt. “Bode’s going fast, no question, and he’s got a lot of confidence, and that’s important.

“I think he may’ve learned something from today, but we won’t know until the next race if he took something with him from today. I certainly don’t want to see him skiing for second — and he isn’t.”

He said Vonn’s performance may help him shake a slump. “He carried the team today. He’s been struggling,” Hunt said, “but I think Thomas gained some confidence with that first run starting back in the 40s, finishing 22nd, and with a top-10 start for the second run in the flip-30 format, he was going for it.

“That was particularly good because we’ve got a lot happening this week two giant slaloms plus a slalom Thursday-Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and we want everyone skiing well.”

Alta Badia, ITA – Dec. 16
Men’s Giant Slalom
1. Frederic Covili, France, 2:40.58
2. Michael Von Gruenigen, Switzerland, 2:40.60
3. Sami Uotila, Finland, 2:40.67
4. (tie) Christoph Gruber and Benjamin Raich, both Austria, 2:40.79

14. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, N.Y., 2:41.57

DNF-2: Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H.
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Dane Spencer, Boise, Idaho; Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif.
DNF-1: Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah; Chip Knight, Stowe, Vt.

Cafe de Colombia World Cup
Men’s Overall (10 races)
1. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 519 points
2. Miller, 325
3. Covili, 280
4. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway, 267
5. Lasse Kjus, Norway, 265

52. Casey Puckett, Aspen, Colo., 34
57. Rahlves, 31
61. Schlopy, 28

Men’s GS (3 races)
1. Covili, 280
2. Von Gruenigen, 185
3. Eberharter, 169
4. Miller, 145
5. Fredrik Nyberg, Sweden, 116

25. Vonn, 16
31. Schlopy, 15
34. Rahlves, 12