DH win moves Rahlves ahead of Miller in overall
BORMIO, Italy – Daron Rahlves won a World Cup downhill Thursday and moved ahead of American teammate Bode Miller in the overall standings.Rahlves dominated the difficult Stelvio course for three straight days, also leading both training sessions. “I like the risk factor,” Rahlves said. “This course demands a lot. You have to respect the hill but also fight back. So many downhills are getting slower and easier. This is still real technical.”Rahlves also won on the Stelvio in 2002 and finished second to Miller in the downhill at last season’s world championships here.”I took a little extra time in inspection today because I knew it was going to be tough,” Rahlves said. “I heard the wind blowing last night in my bus.”
He jumped from fifth in the standings to take the lead with 489 points. Miller, who last season became the first American overall winner in 22 years, remained second with 471 points after a ninth-place finish.”I’m super satisfied. This is the ultimate,” Rahlves said.”The overall is going to be decided at the end of the season like it always is,” Miller said. “Of course that won’t stop everyone from talking about it.”Miller was the only skier to skip inspection, the period before the race when competitors check the course to memorize bumps and changes in direction.”It’s pretty normal, especially when you haven’t skied since the previous inspection – since I only skied for 10 seconds yesterday,” said Miller, who sustained slight facial injuries when he fell in training Wednesday.He said his chronically injured left knee feels good but acknowledged that he has not been at his best lately.
“There’s been no time for training,” he said. “Hopefully I can take it easy this next week.”The World Cup takes a New Year’s break before resuming with a giant slalom Jan. 7 in Adelboden, Switzerland.The 32-year-old Rahlves, probably in his last season on the circuit, got the 11th World Cup victory of his career.Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway had the lead entering the race but did not compete because of a broken rib. He dropped to fourth in the overall standings.Rahlves skied down the 2.3-mile slope, the most physically demanding on the circuit, in 1 minute, 57.68 seconds.
Fritz Strobl of Austria was second, 0.32 seconds behind, and kept the lead in the downhill standings. Tobias Gruenenfelder of Switzerland was third, 0.35 back.Gruenenfelder was on pace to finish first or second until he fell crossing the finish line. He tore ligaments in his right knee and wore a brace on the podium.Several other skiers fell, with vision difficult because of sharp contrasts between strong sunlight and large areas of shade. Hans Grugger of Austria dislocated his right hip after losing control and falling hard. Organizers said he was undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital.The race was delayed for 30 minutes because of a crash by a forerunner testing the course.Steven Nyman of the United States finished 26th.
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