Bode Miller wins World Cup super-combined race
AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
WENGEN, Switzerland – Bode Miller won a World Cup super-combined event Friday on the Lauberhorn course for his first victory since March 2008.
The American completed his slalom run in 49.05 seconds after leading the downhill for a combined time of 2 minutes, 35.96 seconds.
“Winning was great,” said Miller, adding that he was less excited about his skiing. “It’s a great time of the year for me to be moving forward.”
Miller won his 32nd career World Cup race ahead of the Vancouver Olympics. He missed much of the offseason while he considered retiring and had to skip recent races to rest an injured right ankle.
Carlo Janka of Switzerland was 0.37 back in second, and Swiss teammate Silvan Zurbriggen was third. Ted Ligety of the United States placed fifth, 1.27 seconds behind Miller.
Janka said Miller looked in good shape in both disciplines.
“Second place was all I could get,” he said. “Bode in the downhill was too strong.”
The 32-year-old Miller promised to go all out for victory after an impressive downhill run gave him a 0.69 cushion on Janka, who won the Wengen super-combi last year.
Miller said he had four big mistakes in his downhill, and skiing aggressively gives him the least pain in the technically demanding slalom discipline. He completed it without major errors, despite using a new setup of boots, bindings and skis.
“The most important thing was the equipment,” Miller said. “That’s not the best way to go out there and try to win, but I have to do it. I started so late this year I had no time to test.”
Miller turned to look up at the race clock and giant screen for several seconds after crossing the finish line. He tapped his ski poles behind his back in a small gesture of satisfaction before spinning to face the crowd – a Wengen record of 17,500 for Friday racing.
He stood still for several seconds more as if savoring the moment, then was greeted by a grinning Zurbriggen, who heartily grabbed Miller’s fist before Janka offered his congratulations.
Zurbriggen said Miller deserved his win after a tough first half of the season.
“He’s a great skier. He’s a great guy and he’s always really nice to us,” said Zurbriggen, who also was third last year. “He did an unbelievably good downhill … and he was the best today.”
Miller’s last World Cup win came in a downhill nearly two years ago in Kvitfjell, Norway.
Miller finished on the podium as runner-up in the classic Lauberhorn downhill exactly one year ago. He won the race in 2007 and ’08 and will be one of the favorites on Saturday.
Benjamin Raich had the fastest slalom time to move up from 15th to fourth and maintained his lead in the overall World Cup standings. The Austrian holds a 32-point lead over Janka, 689-657.
Ligety is seventh overall with 362 points. Miller moved up to ninth place at 318.
Miller is third in the super-combined standings after three races, trailing Raich and Janka. The fourth and final event is next weekend at Kitzbuehel, Austria.