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December 20, 2006
HINTERSTODER, AUSTRIA – (USST News Bureau Release) – Reigning super G world champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) reclaimed the overall World Cup lead and the SG points lead Wednesday, rocketing to victory in Hinterstoder. The win – his 24th – came just 90 minutes after Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) finished 1-2 in a downhill at Val d’Isere, France, and gave the U.S. Ski Team a top-3 result in an unprecedented seven straight races over six days.
“I can be pleased with my placing but the run was not very good at all,” Miller said at the finish. “I controlled the parts I can control pretty well – I had good power, good flow out of the start but as soon as I got on the pitch, (I made) a few miscalculations and a few turns didn’t come around for me as I hoped.
“I hung on well and I made great recoveries, but the skiing was not my best at all.”
WCSN.com will broadcast streaming video coverage of three World Cup races Wednesday. Miller’s victory, starting at 2 p.m. ET, will be sandwiched between Mancuso’s winning DH Tuesday and Kildow’s victory about a half-hour before the men’s race began in Hinterstoder.
Miller won a super G last Friday in Val Gardena, Italy, launching the historic run by U.S. men and women; he was timed Wednesday in 1:09.76 over the short (1.6K) course with Italy’s Peter Fill runnerup in 1:10.55. Hermann Maier of Austria – the alltime SG king with 23 World Cup wins in the discipline – was third (1:10.70). TJ Lanning (Park City, UT) overcame a broken right hand from three weeks ago as he blazed out of the 50th start spot to tie for 19th, producing the first World Cup points of his career.
Miller – “full power”…but slow snow
“I got full power out of the start, all the way to the second gate,” said Miller, the 2005 World Cup overall and super G champion as well as ’05 SG gold medalist at the alpine World Championships. “I was being aggressive.”
Asked about the success of U.S. Ski Team athletes in the past week, Miller said, “I think you’re seeing a more mature team now. More and more people are in their middle and late 20s on the team. In the past, people left by their mid-20s. Now, we have 400-point World Cup racers on our team.”
With three wins in three weeks, Miller has surpassed his two victories a year ago; however, it’s far too early to think about winning another overall title, he said. “I don’t think about it. But my skiing is definitely there in three events, and I think slalom is there but I need more training, and I hope that’ll come in January and February.”
He again credited his new-this-season Head skis with playing a major role in the win over slow snow and bumpy run, noting he’d won twice in super G plus the treacherous downhill Dec. 1 at the VISA Birds of Prey races in Beaver Creek, CO.
“My skis are working great. I’m a good skier. I’ve proved it,” he said. “But a good skier still requires good skis. In super-G and downhill, there’s no question, my skis are great.”
Lanning, broken hand and all, gets first points “Great day for Bode, for sure…but a great day for TJ, too,” said DH/SG Head Coach Chris Brigham. “TJ’s still skiing with that broken hand from Birds of Prey (when he crashed Nov. 30 in the downhill front end of a super combined event). His hand was plated and screwed back together and now he’s fine. He keeps it wrapped up because he’s still got stitches in there; he has extra padding but it’s not affecting TJ’s skiing.
“These are his first World Cup points and he deserved ’em; he attacked from the back and you could do that on this snow,” Brigham said.
He said the short track was because the race was run at the top of the mountain. “The normal race hill doesn’t have any snow. We’re glad they made the changes and we could have a race,” Brigham said.
After 13 races, Miller is first overall with 440 points to 421 for Norway’s Aksel Lund SSvindal. Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) – second Monday in a slalom in Alta Badia, Italy – is sixth and Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), who won the first World up race of his career last Saturday in Val Gardena, Italy, in seventh place.
The men finish their visit to Hinterstoder, their first since the 2000 season, with a slalom Thursday and take off for some holiday time before two downhills Dec. 28-29 in Bormio, Italy. The first DH replaces one lost earlier this month because of low snow in Val d’Isere, France.