Sullivan picks up first World Cup win
Vail, CO Colorado
CHAMONIX, France ” Persistence finally paid off for Marco Sullivan.
The American skier won his first World Cup race in his ninth season on the U.S. team, capitalizing on his gliding skills to win the Kandahar downhill Saturday.
The 27-year-old Sullivan covered the 2.08-mile course in 2 minutes, 0.11 seconds, edging discipline leader Didier Cuche of Switzerland by 0.40 seconds.
“I knew I could kill ’em with my gliding if I could carry my speed off the top,” said Sullivan, a two-time Olympian. “It all came together. … I had a couple of small scrubs (of time) on top, but I knew this was my kind of course and I knew I had a good run.”
Andrej Jerman of Slovenia was third and American Bode Miller finished seventh.
Miller, who finished in 2:00.91, was faster than Sullivan over the first two stages of the course but lost time at the bottom.
Sullivan was 22nd after the first stage but recovered to reach the second 0.47 seconds ahead of Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Canada, who led at one point with a run of 2:00.73.
By the third split, Sullivan had increased his lead on the flat part of the run.
The 27-year-old got his first World Cup podium finish in November, when he came in second in a downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, another course that is good for skiers who can maintain their speed across the flatter sections of a course.
“I had a lot of injuries. It’s the first time in a while I’ve been healthy,” Sullivan said.
He tore ligaments in his right knee in December 2003, then reinjured the knee and missed the entire 2005 season.
“I had bib No. 11 and that’s my sister’s favorite number. I talked to her last night and told her I was gonna lay one down for her,” said Sullivan, who was also thinking of injured teammates Steven Nyman and Scott Macartney.
“I felt like I was skiing for more people than myself.”
Cuche extended his lead in the downhill standings with 464 points, followed by Miller with 399. Sullivan moved up to fourth with 278 ” 65 behind third-place Michael Walchhofer of Austria.
In the overall standings, Benjamin Raich of Austria leads by 18 points over the second-place Cuche. Miller is third.
The super combined ” a shorter downhill and a slalom ” is Sunday.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.