3 Americans in top 12 after DH at Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado American Steven Nyman was the big surprise in Thursday’s downhill portion of the Birds of Prey super combined at Beaver Creek.The 25-year-old laid down a time of 1 minute, 13.70 seconds out of the 27th spot to put himself in second place, going into this afternoon’s slalom run.But with Switzerland’s Didier Cuche, the leader at 1:13.50, likely to be no factor in the slalom he is a speed specialist Nyman for all intents and purposes is the leader in the clubhouse going into today’s second run, set for 2:30 p.m.While Nyman is also a speed specialist, the Provo, Utah, native will likely be able to pick up World Cup points and gain momentum going into Friday’s downhill. He took third in last year’s Birds of Prey DH.Bode Miller all but repeated his magnificent downhill run in last year’s super combined, posting a 1:14.08, good for what was fourth after racers withdrew before the slalom. But the jury is still out on the Franconia, N.H., racer. He held what amounted to a 2.04-second lead in this event in 2006, only to ski off course, giving Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal the win.A majority of the field’s contenders for the the super combi crown skied their way up the bib list Thursday. Liechtenstein’s Marco Buechel and Austria’s Michael Walchhofer (1:14.05) and Switzerland’s Daniel Albrecht (1:14.06) were fourth and fifth, respectively, but have withdrawn from the slalomTeammates Didier Defago (1:14.31) and Ambrosi Hoffman (1:14.34) of Switzerland thus moved up to fourth and fifth. Hoffman made the biggest leap of the day, moving into eighth from the No. 56 bib.Norway’s Lars Elton Myhre (ninth, 1:14.36) is in uncharted territory. His best SC result was 14 last year at Kvitfjell, Norway. But his best overall World Cup result came here in last year’s slalom eighth place, so he may be a factor this afternoon.Austria Hermann Maier had what was essentially a tune-up for Friday’s downhill, taking 10th in 1:14.39.American Andrew Weibrecht took 12th (1:14.52) with T.J. Lanning 17th, giving the red, white and blue four in the top 20.Also very much in striking distance are Austria’s Ranier Schoenfelder (1:14.65), Austria’s Benjamin Raich (1:14.99) and Croatia’s Ivica Kostilic (1:15.01).The finishing order for the top-30 racers in downhill will be reversed for slalom.
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