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Miller Survives Wild Ride, Pad Points Lead Slightly


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KITZBUEHEL, Austria (Jan. 26 – News Release) — Kalle Palander of Finland, who won the 1999 slalom title at the World Championships in Vail, CO, ended his World Cup drought Sunday as he won his first World Cup on the final day of the 63rd Hahnenkamm Weekend. Meanwhile, Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) — in another “only Bode” move — got spring-boarded off-course on his second run, was on a hip twice, hiked a gate and still added points to his World Cup overall lead over Austrian Stephan Eberharter.

Palander, who led the first run, won in 1:41.75 with Rainer Schoenfelder, another Austrian, in second place at 1:42.06. Completing the podium was yet another Austrian, Heinz Schilchegger (1:42.28).

Tom Rothrock (Cashmere, WA) had the top U.S. slalom result Sunday, finishing 19th with Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) 20th and Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) 25th. Miller was 27th but, at 10 seconds out, was too far back to earn World Cup points.

Miller, third in the first run, clipped a gate up high on the course to start his second run, costing precious tenths of a second as he went down on a hip before bouncing back up. At the bottom, he went down, missing a gate and sliding below the next one. He hiked back onto the course, made the gates and finished. He couldn’t earn slalom points because of the time-back rule but he was fifth — one place ahead of Eberharter — in the combined tally, giving him five points more than Eberharter (45 for fifth, 40 for sixth place).

Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, who won the only other combined this year — a week earlier in Wengen, Switzerland, went out on his second run of slalom, opening the door for Miller, before his daredevil second run survival trip. After 26 races, including two combined, Miller leads with 935 points and Eberharter is at 905; Saturday, Aamodt was third, the Austrian fourth and Miller eighth in the Hahnenkamm downhill won by Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA).

“I didn’t know that Aamodt had gone out,” Miller said. “That would have been good information to have, but I still would have skied pretty aggressive. I feel good about my slalom right now and it’s fun to ski fast.

“I felt really good at the top. I felt balanced and smooth. But the fallaways on this hill are so unforgiving. Both times, I hit the gate too tight. It hits my skis, and when it hits your ski the ski just takes off. Those are just tactical mistakes on my part — but I hiked to stay in there,” he said.

Miller, who has competed in every race this winter despite arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in mid-November, laughed as he said Eberharter, who seldom skis slalom, was kidding him at the start of the second run. “Stephan told me he blames me for this and I was pretty psyched. I like to see him out there skiing it. And if he wants to beat me in the overall, I would like to see him work for it instead of just skiing his strong events.”

Monday, the men ski a super G which was postponed because of winds and more than a foot of snow Friday. Tuesday night, they race slalom in Schladming, then head to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the World Championships; the men run super G at Worlds on Saturday.

The U.S. Ski Team for worlds is expected to be announced by Monday.

FIS ALPINE WORLD CUP63rd Hahnenkamm WeekendKitzbuehel, AUT — Jan. 26Men’s SL (and combined)1. Kalle Palander, Finland, 1:41.752. Rainer Schoenfelder, Austria, 1:42.063. Heinz Schilchegger, Austria, 1:42.284. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:42.525. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:42.59 -19. Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, WA, 1:44.0120. Chip Knight, Stowe, VT, 1:44.1525. Erik Schlopy, Park City, UT, 1:44.8727. Bode Miller, Francnoia, NH, 1:52.71 –Combined (Saturday DH/Sunday SL)1. Michael Walchhofer, Austria2. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway3. Didier Defago, Switzerland -5. Miller –World Cup StandingsMen’s Overall (26 races)1. Miller, 9352. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 9053. Kjetil Andre Aaodt, Norwaay, 7324. Walchhofer, 532 5. Defago, 508 -7. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, CA. 48638. Schlopy, 17141. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 13644. Knight, 12271T. Jake Fiala, Frisco, 5473T. Rothrock, 5189. Scott Macartney, Redmond, WA, 32100T. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, NY, 24129T. Dane Spencer, Boise, ID, 9 –Men’s SL (6 races)1. Kostelic, 4282. Schoenfelder, 3143. Palander, 2784. Manfred Pranger, Austria, 2035. Raich, 195 -11. Knight, 122
14. Miller, 104
23. Schlopy, 63
26T. Rothrock, 51