VAL GARDENA, Italy Dec. 15, 2006 (USST Release)—Reigning super G world champion Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) nailed the top section and kept ripping down the Saslong course Friday to win a World Cup super G, the 23rd victory of his career and first win at Val Gardena. Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) was 10th.
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Miller, who drew closer to Phil Mahre's U.S. record of 27 World Cup wins finished in 1:32.35 with Austrian Christoph Gruber second in 1:32.99. Nyman's time in the sunny 30-degree weather was 1:33.45 for the 2.4K course; he and Swiss skier Silvan Zurbriggen moved up a spot when Hermann Maier of Austria was disqualified.
After taking a half-second lead at the top split, Miller - whose best previous finish in Val Gardena was fourth in a super G two years ago - lost a bit in the mid-section and then piled-on four-tenths of a second on the final section for the impressive victory. It's the fourth super G win of his career, his first since tying then-teammate Daron Rahlves in the SG at World Cup Finals last March in Are, Sweden, scene of this season's FIS World Championships in February.
"I skied it smart. I didn't risk too much," Miller said. "It was a perfect run, top to bottom...definitely the best run this season for me, not just in races but including training runs, too."
He said he was confident and "always had the right direction. I had a good inspection (with Coach John McBride) and was confident all the way. I had a good line.
"I wasn't as much on the edge as usual. I knew I had to ski the right line, and I got it."
He said super G has always been one of his favorite disciplines although he feels he's skiing faster at the moment in giant slalom.[pagebreak]
"Not too bad," said DH/SG Head Coach Chris Brigham. "Bode skied incredibly well on the top part, which was difficult today, and he carried it on down the hill. He skied like we known he can ski; his equipment was working and he skied well...and Steven had a little trouble on the top part, but he skied very well after that. He's picking up confidence in every race. He's coming!"
He added, "Bode should be fun to watch in the downhill tomorrow after today's performance. He'll be more confident in his equipment and his skiing."
Brigham praised the course crew for "a fantastic job. They've done an amazing job getting this place ready; they were saying five or six days ago it wouldn't even be close, but the track was pretty close to perfect. It's amazing, considering the little snow they've gotten in so much of Europe. This was prepared almost as well as they normally prepare it."
The best previous U.S. results in Val Gardena were a third-place showings in downhill by Mike Lafferty behind Swiss great Bernhard Russi in March 1972 and by AJ Kitt behind another Swiss Franz Heinzer early in the '92 season. "This was a great day for Bode, a good day for the team," Brigham said.
The men race downhill Saturday and then move on for their traditional stop in Alta Badia with a giant slalom Sunday and a slalom Monday.
MEN'S ALPINE WORLD CUP
Val Gardena, ITA - Dec. 15, 2006
Men's Super G
1. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, NH, 1:32.35
2. Christoph Gruber, Austria, 1:32.99
3. John Kucera, Canada, 1:33.08
4. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:33.13
5. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:33.23
10. Steve Nyman, Provo, UT, 1:33.45
32. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:34.74
38. Scott Macartney, Redmond, WA, 1:34.91
46. Jake Zamansky, Aspen, CO, 1:35.41
50T. JJ Johnson, Park City, UT, 136.20