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Adelboden, Switzerland Feb. 8, 2004 — An attacking Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) — “on the edge” throughout his final run — moved up two spots to finish second Sunday in a World Cup slalom behind Austrian Rainer Schoenfelder with Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) 20th.
Miller, fourth in the first run under a heavily overcast sky and temperatures about 30, had the second-fastest final run and broke up an Austrian logjam at the top of the standings. Schoenfelder finished in 1:44.98 and Miller’s time was 1:45.17.
“This is the way I like to ski slalom,” Miller said. “My second run I was on the edge the whole way down. There were a number of places I could’ve gone out. I charged from top to bottom.”
Podium softens GS frustration
The performances helps ease some of the frustration from Saturday’s giant slalom when Miller had been in sight of another top-3 finish before he ran into problems midway through his final run and skied off course.
“The second run was right where I want to be in slalom. It’s that balance between taking risks and executing…not pushing too hard,” Miller said of the gnarly Adelboden slalom run; 33 skiers failed to finish the first run – including Americans Jesse Marshall (Pittsfield, VT), Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA) and Jake Zamansky (Aspen, CO) – and eight went out on their second run.
“If you push too hard all the time, this hill will come back to bite you,” he added, noting he felt first-run leader Manfred Pranger of Austria pushed too hard in his final run.
“I kinda gambled. I took it easy on the first run and let it go on the second,” he explained. He said he had essentially the same tactics in the GS and his goal was to “not get scared about Saturday — the same tactics and execute.” Going out in the GS, he said, was a “bit of bad luck … so it’s nice to come back today and make it stick.”
Two years ago, Miller won the Adelboden slalom and after a rocky start this winter, he’s been skiing solid slalom lately. “Last year was tough in slalom. This year I felt really good coming into the season but things didn’t click right away,” he explained. “This is a great hill to put down some good skiing.”
The podium lifts Miller to third place in the slalom standings; he stands second in giant slalom points. He’s fourth overall (852 points) behind Austrian Benjamin Raich, who was third Sunday in 1:45.48 and took over the World Cup points lead (985) from teammate Hermann Maier.
Tricky, tough final pitch
“This last pitch is a storied part of the World Cup,” said Knight, who finished in 1:47.98. “It’s near vertical. It feels as if you can float away….You don’t find this anywhere in the world.”
Men’s Head Coach Phil McNichol said, “Bode did a good job. He pulled off a good result…really good for him. He’s obviously skiing very good slalom now. Chip was fast in some sections but didn’t put one solid run together; still, he got points, and that’s good.
“It’s too bad the other guys didn’t get in there, though, because this was a good opportunity with the surface so good. It’s a bit disappointing but I’m certainly pleased Bode could something done.”