Rahlves wins Bormio DH
BORMIO, Italy – Daron Rahlves waved two fingers while standing on the winner’s podium.The message was simple: Two goals accomplished, two more to go.Rahlves won a downhill race Thursday to take the lead in the World Cup overall standings, passing American teammate Bode Miller and three others in the points race.The 32-year-old Californian had four goals entering this season, probably his last on the circuit. The first was achieved when he won the downhill earlier this month in Beaver Creek and a victory at Bormio was second on the list.A win in Kitzbuehel – skiing’s sacred ground – next month and finishing his career with a gold medal at the Turin Olympics in February are the objectives that remain.What will it take?
“More of what I did here,” said Rahlves, who skied down the 2.3-mile slope in 1 minute, 57.68 seconds for the 11th World Cup victory of his career.He attacked the Stelvio course, the most physically demanding on the World Cup circuit, on a day when it was at its nastiest.The biggest problem was impaired vision – due to strong sunlight contrasting with large shady areas – which led to several injuries. Still, Rahlves didn’t back down a bit.”I like the risk factor,” he said. “This course demands a lot. It’s unfortunate that some guys got hurt – but that’s ski racing. It wakes you up a bit at the start.”Rahlves dominated the Stelvio course for three straight days, also leading both training sessions.”This is the ultimate,” he said. “This week was good every single day.”Rahlves also won on the Stelvio in 2002 and finished second to Miller in the downhill at last season’s world championships here.
He jumped from fifth in the standings to take the lead with 489 points. Miller, who last season became the first American overall winner in 22 years, remained second with 471 points after a ninth-place finish.”The overall is going to be decided at the end of the season like it always is,” Miller said. “Of course that won’t stop everyone from talking about it.”Miller was the only skier to skip inspection, the period before the race when competitors check the course to memorize bumps and changes in direction.”It’s pretty normal, especially when you haven’t skied since the previous inspection – since I only skied for 10 seconds yesterday,” said Miller, who injured his face slightly when he fell in training.He said his chronically injured left knee feels good but acknowledged that he has not been at his best lately.”There’s been no time for training,” he said. “Hopefully I can take it easy this next week.”
The World Cup takes a New Year’s break before resuming with a giant slalom Jan. 7 in Adelboden, Switzerland.Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway had the lead in the overall entering the race but did not compete because of a broken rib. He dropped to fourth in the overall standings.Fritz Strobl of Austria was second in the race, 0.32 seconds behind Rahlves, and kept the lead in the downhill standings. Tobias Gruenenfelder of Switzerland was third, 0.35 back.Gruenenfelder was on pace to finish first or second until he fell crossing the finish line. He tore ligaments in his right knee and wore a brace on the podium.Hans Grugger of Austria dislocated his right hip after losing control and falling hard. Organizers said he was undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital.The race was delayed for 30 minutes because of a crash by a forerunner testing the course.Vail, Colorado