Miller wins first Cup giant slalom of season

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2004

SOELDEN, Austria Bode Miller's quest to become the first American in more than two decades to win the World Cup overall title got off to the perfect start.

Miller captured the season-opening giant slalom by more than a second Sunday, reasserting his dominance of the discipline he won last season.

''It's the first race of season, and you never know how the others are skiing,'' Miller said. ''It's a challenging hill and I almost went down couple of times in the second run, so when I got across the finish line I was already excited, never mind the time difference.''

No American has won the overall title since Phil Mahre in 1983, but Miller believes he is ready to break that drought. He finished fourth overall last season.

The victory was the 13th of Miller's career, including seven in giant slalom. He also has three slalom wins and three in combined events.

By winning in Soelden for the second straight season, the defending World Cup giant slalom champion helped cap an embarrassing weekend for the Austrians who were kept off the podium on home snow in women's and men's races.

Miller reached the bottom of the steep Rettenbach Gletscher course in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 16.44 seconds, a whopping 1.17 seconds ahead of Italy's Massimiliano Blardone.

Finland's Kalle Palander, who finished second to Miller last season in the giant slalom standings, was third.

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