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ADELBODEN, Switzerland (Jan. 6) — A strapping, 24-year-old ski racer from Franconia, N.H., named Miller put the Bode in Adelboden Sunday with two clean runs of slalom that gave him his third World Cup victory of the season — that hasn’t been done since Phil Mahre in 1983 — by nearly two seconds. Chip Knight (Stowe, VT) had his best result since 1997, finishing 17th.
Miller, who went out to play hockey as a dry-land training vehicle with the team after the race, previously had won a GS in Val d’Isere, France, and a slalom the next night in Madonna diCampiglio, Italy. He led the first run by nearly a half-second and completed his World Cup “hat trick” in a time of 1:33.24.
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, whose first win came earlier this season during the Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational, was second in 1:35.16 and Slovenian Mitja Kunc completed the podium in 1:35.39. Knight, 23rd in the first run and the only other U.S. skier to reach the second run, had the seventh-fastest second run and moved up to 17th with a total time of 1:36.30.
Miller: “A nasty and steep course”
“If you ski it error-free — not that I was error-free, I had a couple of little bobbles but nothing that cost me any time — you can do okay,” Miller said. “This is a nasty and steep course, so that’s the key, being error-free. You have to stay focused.
“Slalom is pretty easy for me right now as far as speed, but you have to focus to stay on the hill. They’re not easy courses; they may look easy, but they’re not,” he said.
“The conditions were pretty good. It was kind of inconsistent snow but it didn’t break through. There were a couple of ruts and small holes, but nothing major.”
He added, “I knew I could win but didn’t think it would be by such a large margin. The good thing about running 30th after winning the first run, he skied last in the flip-30 format is that you can see all the lines where the others have gone and when you can ski inside the lines you know you’re very fast.”
“You’ve got to attack”
“You can’t back off in the second run,” Miller said. “You’ve just got to attack. I went out of that start hut with the intention of skiing well and I did that.”
U.S. SL/GS Head Coach Jesse Hunt said, “We’re loving it. Obviously, Bode skied very well but he skied smart…and that top-20 for Chip was pretty sweet, too. He broke the ice in qualifying and skied the steep in both runs very well. He had a very strong second run.”
The men’s tour moves to Wengen, Switzerland, where the season’s first combined calculation will be made based on the downhill Saturday and a slalom Sunday.
CAFE DE COLOMBIA WORLD CUP
Adelboden, SUI – Jan. 6
1. Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H., 1:33.24
2. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:35.16
3. Mitja Kunc, Slovenia, 1:35.39
4. Kalle Palander, Finland, 1:35.55
5. Tom Stiansen, Norway, 1:35.62
17. Chip Knight, Stowe, Vt., 1:36.30
Did not qualify for 2nd run: Casey Puckett, Aspen, Colo.
DNF-1: Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah; Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, Wash.; Sacha Gros, Vail, Colo.
Cafe de Colombia World Cup
1. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 732 points
2. Miller, 540
3. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 497
4. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway, 416
5. Frederic Covili, France, 413
41. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 91
58. Schlopy, 55
65. Chad Fleischer, Vail, Colo., 41
72. Puckett, 34
74. Dane Spencer, Boise, Idaho, 32
88. Thomas Vonn, Newburgh, N.Y., 23
104. Knight, 14
120. Gros, 6
125. Marco Sullivan, Tahoe City, Calif., 4
127. Jake Fiala, Frisco, Colo., 3
Men’s Slalom (5 races)
1. Kostelic, 311
2. Miller, 280
3. Mario Matt, Austria, 267
4. Jean-Pierre Vidal, France, 239
5. Giorgio Rocca, Italy, 200
30. Puckett, 34
43. Knight, 14
49. Gros, 6