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VAL D’ISERE, France Dec. 12, 2004 (AP by Erica Bulman)–World Cup overall leader Bode Miller won a giant slalom for the second time this season Sunday, rallying from fourth place in the opening leg.
Miller, who took the season-opening giant slalom but failed to complete the one in Beaver Creek, Colo., covered the shadowy course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.66 seconds. The American needed to make up 0.30 seconds after the first run.
“It’s such a tough course,” said Miller, who won his weight in local wine _ about 90 bottles _ in addition to his prize money. “There are lots of blind turns, there’s a lot of speed for a GS and it’s a long course, distance-wise. You can’t afford to make a tactical mistake.”
Lasse Kjus of Norway finished second in 2:20.95, climbing from fifth place. Hermann Maier of Austria was third in 2:20.99. Daron Rahlves, Miller’s U.S. teammate, was 15th.
Miller now leads the overall standings with 630 points, a whopping 291 ahead of second-place Maier. Miller tops the giant slalom standings with 200 and is followed by Kjus at 180 and Maier at 156.
“I don’t feel I skied my best,” Miller said. “The first run I definitely held back. Second run I let go but made some bad turns.”
Kjus won the giant slalom in Beaver Creek last month for his first victory in the discipline since winning in Kranjska Gora in 1996.
“It always takes me longer than most people to recover from jet lag,” he said. “First run, I felt more like sleeping than skiing. But I woke up second run.”
Maier led after the opening run and look poised to win his first giant slalom in almost four years.
“I’m very pleased by my achievement this year in GS,” said Maier, the runner-up in Beaver Creek. “For sure it’s disappointing because I was leading after the first run. But I knew in the second run I hadn’t skied well enough to win.”
Maier won the World Cup giant slalom title three times as well as the Olympic gold medal in 1998 before a motorcycle crash in August 2001 nearly cost him a leg.
Since then, he has struggled to regain his form in the discipline, with numbness in his leg and pressure from his boot on his weakened shin making it difficult to gauge the pressure he puts on his ski. His last giant slalom victory was in the World Cup final in 2001.
Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press