Svindal edges Miller
ARE, Sweden – Bode Miller came in second, but at least he got on the podium Wednesday in the last men’s downhill event of the World Cup season.Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway covered the Olympia course in 1 minute, 42.40 seconds for his first downhill victory and second career win, edging Miller by .20 seconds. Peter Fill of Italy finished third.Miller, who has been hampered by a left knee injury, was pleased with his performance.”The jumps were a little bit harder for me,” Miller said. “But when it’s time to race I usually don’t feel much of my knee pains. I absolutely 100 percent gassing it the whole way. In general, I was really happy with the way I skied.”
Defending World Cup downhill champion Michael Walchhofer of Austria held on to his title despite finishing in 11th place.”The downhill title is the biggest thing, especially in Austria,” said Walchhofer, who won Olympic silver in the downhill in Turin. “It shows you’re one of the best, not just at the moment, but in history.”Anja Paerson of Sweden beat American Lindsey Kildow in the women’s downhill, moving closer to Janica Kostelic of Croatia in the overall standings. Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria, who won the Olympic downhill, had already won the downhill title this season.Benjamin Raich already secured the men’s overall title, and Svindal is second with 910 points, 55 points ahead of Walchhofer. Miller, the defending World Cup overall champion, is fourth with 828 points.Miller is expected to compete in the super-G is Thursday, followed by the Friday’s giant slalom and the slalom on Saturday. He’s also looking ahead to next season.
Miller would need to win the downhill and slalom to complete his collection of all five World Cup titles. He won the overall title and super-G last season, and the giant slalom title in 2004.American Daron Rahlves, who is retiring after this season, was seventh on Wednesday.The 32-year-old Rahlves is the most decorated U.S. speed skier with 12 World Cup victories, a 2001 world championship in the super-G and two medals at last year’s world championships.Paerson finished in 1:24.60 on the new WM Strecke course built for next year’s World Championships. Kildow, a winner of two downhills this season, was 0.30 behind. Elisabeth Goergl of Austria finished third.
Kildow had her first downhill race since the severely bruised her left hip in a training crash at the Olympics.”One vertebra is taking the bulk of the pain, but it’s a lot better,” Kildow said. “I seem to be getting my speed legs back. I’m really happy to be back skiing the way I know I can ski, and the way I should have skied in the Olympics but couldn’t.”Olympic downhill champion Antoine Deneriaz of France crashed when he lost his balance after taking off from one of the big jumps. He hit his head onto the hard-packed ice before coming to an abrupt stop in the safety net.Deneriaz was taken to a hospital for tests. Austrian Klaus Kroell also was hospitalized after breaking his left leg during a crash.Vail, Colorado