Miller overtakes Cochran for U.S. slalom win
SUGARLOAF Local favorite Bode Miller took advantage of some hesitation Tuesday by Olympic teammate and first-run leader Jimmy Cochran to pick off his eighth national title, winning the giant slalom at the 2006 U.S. Alpine Championships.Miller, who spent his elite developmental years at nearby Carrabassett Valley Academy, earned his second gold medal of the championships at Sugarloaf with a two-run time of 2 minutes, 08.15 seconds. His eighth U.S. championship puts him right behind Tiger Shaw and the late Dick Durrance, who won nine titles each.Cochran, who raced No. 1 with Miller starting No. 2, led by four-hundredths of a second after the first-run and finished in 2:09.23 for his third silver medal in 24 hours; he was second Monday in slalom and in the combined. Chip Knight third in the SL, took another bronze with a time of 2:09.75.Cochran: “Bode got me… “”I got nervous before that second run,” Cochran said “Because you’d be taking down the king? Yeah … Bode got me,” he said.Miller had kidded with him between runs, Cochran said, “He was saying how he’s coming for me,” he said, So he and Olympic combined champion, Ted Ligety – the only skier ahead of Cochran Monday in the slalom and combined – replied they’d gang up and take Miller out at the start so he couldn’t take a second run. And when Miller laid down the fastest second run, Cochran said he tightened up.”I knew he was the guy to beat. When he came through the finish first run and saw that he was behind, I think he was a little surprised. He certainly had a mistake so it wasn’t a huge surprise, I guess. He had something to prove that run.
“When I saw a second back, I was like, ‘Ooooh, I wonder what happened.’ Then I heard that he had been way ahead, so that’s pretty good.”Miller on the edgeMiller had a problem midway through the first run, avoiding the fence as he came into the final pitch. The buffed course allowed him to push the limit on his racing and he was “right on the edge of what your equipment can handle” as he came down the sun-bathed run.Even with longtime racing mates Daron Rahlves – now retired – and Erik Schlopy, home with his wife as she expects their first child, not competing, Miller said he was “excited” to be racing. “We have a team right now that makes it worthwhile to race against,” he said.He called Cochran “Von Gruenigen-esque, the way his touch is,” a highly complimentary reference to Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen, who ruled GS for many years before retiring. But, Miller said, Cochran is inconsistent.”He has the potential to be dominant on the tech side … could be untouchable” when he figures out when to take full risks.
The Championships – with $3,000 for a gold medal – conclude Wednesday with the women’s giant slalom.2006 U.S. Alpine ChampionshipsSugarloaf, Maine – March 28Men’s giant slalom1. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., 2:08.152. James Cochran, Keene, N.H., 2:09.233. Chip Knight, Stowe, Vt., 2:09.75
4. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, 2:10.325. Warner Nickerson, Gilford, N.H., 2:10.846. Evan Weiss, Seattle, 2:11.957. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y., 2:11.998. Charles Christianson, Anchorage, Alaska, 2:12.309. Steve Nyman, Orem, Utah, 2:12.4610. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., 2:12.53Vail, Colorado
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