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Miller wins slalom in Italy

Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

 

  U.S.A.'s Bode Miller slaloms past a pole on his way to clock the fastest time during the first run of a men's World Cup slalom at Sestriere, Italy, Monday, Dec. 13, 2004. AP Photo/Marco Trovati

U.S.A.'s Bode Miller slaloms past a pole on his way to clock the fastest time during the first run of a men's World Cup slalom at Sestriere, Italy, Monday, Dec. 13, 2004.

AP Photo/Marco Trovati

SESTRIERE, Italy — World Cup leader Bode Miller won a slalom Monday to join Marc Girardelli as the only men to win races in all four disciplines in a season.

The American won for the sixth time in 10 World Cup races by finishing two runs down the 2006 Olympic course in a combined 1 minute, 39.03 seconds.

''I don't feel any different than before,'' Miller said. ''These are the kinds of things you tell your kids about.''

Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland was next, 1.27 seconds behind, for the first top-three finish of his career. Kalle Palander of Finland was third, 1.41 seconds back.

Miller has won slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill races in a span of just 16 days. Girardelli took more than two months to accomplish the feat in 1988-89; he also won a combined race that season, an event based on the results of a slalom and downhill.

Miller will have a chance to match that in this season's first combined event, Jan. 14.

''At this point I just really enjoy what I'm doing. I think being compared to some of the guys they're comparing me to is a unique opportunity,'' Miller said. ''If you're happy with what you're doing, records don't mean as much. I think it's just fun to ski four events.''

Benjamin Raich of Austria, who won the first slalom this season, came in fourth Monday, with Akira Sasaki of Japan finishing fifth.

Local favorite Giorgio Rocca of Italy, missed a gate on his second run and finished 24th.

After Rocca's mistake, Miller stood in the starting gate with a 1 1/2-second advantage on Zurbriggen, the result of the fastest opening run.

Miller slipped slightly near the middle of the second run, but regrouped to win his second race in two days.

''I didn't know (Rocca) went out. There is no TV at the start,'' Miller said. ''But at that point, I don't think it would have helped. If I back off, I lose my rhythm. For me, the chances of making a mistake are higher when I back off.

''Winning here is good for me. It's been a tough hill for me in the past. I've never had the results I thought I should have had. But I can guarantee you it's going to be much different conditions for the Olympics. I've raced here for seven years now and it's changed every year.''

Miller began his career as a technical skier specializing in slalom and giant slalom, but has since become an all-around threat also excelling in the speed disciplines. As a result, his slalom results have suffered.

Three of Miller's first four World Cup victories, in 2001-02, came in slalom. Until Monday, he had won just once since, in St. Anton last season.

''It was just a matter of making sure to do everything right,'' Miller said. ''In slalom you have to make five or six decisions in a second's time at every gate and if you make one bad decision you're out.''



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