Miller, Cochran finish in the points |

Miller, Cochran finish in the points

WC Bode Miller PU 12-2-06

BEAVER CREEK – The Rolling Stones were right Saturday at Birds of Prey.The song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” played after American Bode Miller, the first-run leader in Saturday’s giant slalom, came down in 12th, dashing his hopes of back-to-back wins at Beaver Creek after his triumph Friday in downhill.For a while, Saturday was shaping up as a banner day for the United States. When word reached Red Tail Camp between runs of the men’s GS that Vail’s Lindsey Kildow won her downhill up in Lake Louise, Alberta, chief of press John Dakin joked, “Get on the radio and tell Bode he’s got company.” Though the Americans didn’t get double gold Saturday, it was still a good day for the men’s team at Beaver Creek. Ted Ligety picked up the men’s team’s third podium of the week with bronze and Miller and Jimmy Cochran (27th) gave the team three racers in the points.”I was happy with how the guys went after it today,” American men’s coach Phil McNichol said.

Miller seemed to pick up Saturday in GS where he left off in Friday’s downhill. Wearing bib No. 12, Miller put down the fastest time in the first run, clocking in at 1 minute, 15.39 seconds.He was 0.09 seconds in front of eventual winner Massimiliano Blardone, and with Ligety sitting in fifth at the time, the fans at the finish stadium likely had visions of another pair of Americans on the podium, (Miller and Steve Nyman finished first and third, respectively, Friday.)Like Thursday’s super combined, Miller led after one run. Unlike Thursday’s race, Miller had no margin for error. With Massimiliano on his tail and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal having laid down the best time in the second run (1:11.68), Miller floored it out of the start.He was very much in the hunt after the first interval at Screech Owl, but clipped a gate with his right hand on Golden Eagle, ending his chances for gold or the podium. Miller kept charging down the hill to finish 12th, earning his first GS points of the year.”There was a time where Bode made mistakes based on bad decision making and I think he was just skiing to win,” McNichol said. “You know, (stuff) happens. That’s ski racing.”He pushes harder than a lot, and I never ever wanted to change that in him. There’s times in the past when he made really bad risk decisions, and this wasn’t a risk decision today.”

While Miller, Nyman and Ligety have stolen the headlines at this year’s Birds of Prey, Cochran has had a silent, solid week. After 27th in the super combined Thursday, he had the same finish in the GS Saturday.Cochran didn’t think his first-run time of 1:17.65 was going to vault him into the second run, but he was happy to be proven wrong. “Once I saw that a lot guys were crashing, I kind of figured that I would be OK,” Cochran said. “I’m not sure I deserved a second run the way I was skiing. It’s something to build off of. It definitely is a good boost.”

In both of his runs, Cochran had difficulty in the flats on the upper portion of the course. “I think I did a better job (on the second) run, but I still think I lost some time up there,” Cochran said. “My weakest GS aspect is the flats and the transitions, and that’s what it is up there.”DNFsAspen’s Jake Zamansky nearly made the second run. Racing 45th, he was gaining speed as he came down Harrier and Red Tail, but fell near the second-to-last gate.”Your guess is as good as mine. I hit my head. I don’t know. It just happened so fast,” Zamansky said. “It was all right. I had a few bobbles. I may have overskied the top a little bit. It was a pretty solid run. Sometimes when you go for it, you crash. It’s just the sport.”

Erik Schlopy entered with high hopes Saturday. Last year, he finished fourth at the Birds of Prey GS despite breaking his hand. But Schlopy got into trouble on Golden Eagle and finally went down on Harrier on his first run.Tom Rothrock, Warner Nickerson and Kevin Francis also did not finish the first run. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or Daily, Vail Colorado CO

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