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MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy, Dec. 16, 2003 (AP by Andrew Dampf) — Bode Miller has been unable to finish a race lately. So he’s decided to test himself in a women’s race.
After falling in the first run of Monday’s men’s slalom, Miller signed up to be a forerunner in a women’s slalom Tuesday.
Forerunner’s times are not made public unless the skier reveals the time, and their results don’t count as any sort of official result. They are used mainly to make sure there are no problems on the course.
Having failed to complete four out of his last five races, however, Miller simply needs the practice. And in the middle of the season, this may be the only way he can get it unless he skips men’s races.
“I don’t know, I just don’t have any rhythm for slalom right now,” he said. “I feel so slow. The way I was skiing in the past, I can feel what is fast on the course.”
The fastest skier Monday was Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic, who beat Italy’s Giorgio Rocca by 0.31 seconds. Austria’s Manfred Pranger, the first-run leader, came in third, 0.42 seconds back.
Kostelic won despite feeling a “pop” in his knee that may end his season.
Kostelic’s sister Janica Kostelic, the defending overall World Cup champion, is also scheduled to be a forerunner Tuesday, creating more pre-race hype for the forerunners than the race itself.
Miller and Janica are regarded by many as the two most talented skiers in the world. Janica, who hasn’t raced this season due to a thyroid problem, has been a forerunner in men’s races before.
After falling down on one arm in the top part of the course, Miller righted himself and completed his run, but finished in just 49th position.
The top 30 finishers qualify for the second run.
Miller said his problem is in his mind.
He feels as if he’s going so slow that he has to make up for lost time, when actually he’s skiing just as fast, if not faster, than everyone else.
“So I start going faster and I’m making mistakes,” he said. “It’s just deceiving. I haven’t gotten to the finish in so long.
“If I could race a bunch of slaloms, I could probably find my rhythm a little bit. When I train, I train well. It’s frustrating to see the same, repetitive tactical failure over and over again. I know I’m capable of so much more.”
Miller opened the season by winning two giant slaloms. Since then, he’s dropped to seventh place in the overall World Cup standings, 142 points behind Hermann Maier of Austria.
Miller finished second to Stephan Eberharter in the overall World Cup standings last season.
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press