Miller loses overall lead with eighth-place super-G finish |

Miller loses overall lead with eighth-place super-G finish

AP photoDaron Rahlves of the United States speeds down the course during a World Cup Men's Super-G, in Val Gardena, Italy, Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. Rahlves finished in eleventh place. (AP Photo/Claudio Scaccini)

VAL GARDENA, Italy – Bode Miller isn’t off to the same flying start as last season.The American finished eighth in a World Cup super-G Friday and lost his short-lived lead in the overall standings.Hans Grugger of Austria won his first career super-G, and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished fifth to regain the lead he lost to Miller a week ago. Miller, though, trails by just two points.Miller has won only one race this season, a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.Last season, Miller won the first three races and four of the first five en route to becoming the first American to win the overall title in 22 years.

“If Bode had all the points now that he had at this point last season, I would be way behind,” Svindal said, adding that he never thought he’d be in contention for the overall title.Miller had great split times, but did not finish strong at the end of his run.”I’m not sure what went wrong, but Bode got smoked on the bottom of the course,” U.S. speed coach John McBride said. “We’ll have to go over the video and see what he did wrong.”Svindal raced with bruised ribs and shoulder pain following a fall in downhill training Wednesday. He also holds an 11-point lead over Friday’s runner-up Erik Guay atop the super-G standings.”I’m not thinking too much about the overall now,” Svindal said.The overall race was supposed to be between Miller and Austria’s Benjamin Raich, who finished second last season.

Raich has also had a slow start to this season and is currently seventh overall.”Aksel is very strong but the season is very long,” Raich said. “We will see.”Friday’s race was also not the best indicator of form because it was shaped by changing course conditions, which hurt later starters who ran into melting snow on the bottom section of the course.It was similar to the season’s previous super-G in Beaver Creek, when Hannes Reichelt picked up his first career win in conditions so poor that some skiers said the race shouldn’t have been held.”There’s nothing you can do about it. The conditions just change so much,” Miller’s teammate Daron Rahlves said. “I just don’t think it was a very fair race across the board, but it’s never fair really.”

Rahlves, wearing the No. 28 bib, finished 11th, and teammate Scott Macartney finished a career-best seventh despite starting 38th. Grugger started 14th.Macartney was the surprise of the day. He missed the 2003-04 season due to injury and was thrilled with his effort.”It’s sweet just to be in the top 10,” he said. “I was so psyched when I saw that coming across the line.”Macartney also posted a top-10 finish in the downhill portion of Sunday’s combined race in Val d’Isere. “It’s so good to do it here. I’m so pumped,” he said.Grugger covered the Saslong course in 1 minute, 37.35 seconds. Guay was 0.31 seconds behind and Ambrosi Hoffmann of Switzerland was third, 0.32 seconds back.Vail, Colorado

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