BODE MILLER MOVES ONTO PODIUM WITH DQ OF SWISS DIDIER DEFAGO
Ligety 10th, U.S. team gains solid position in 'super combined' debut
VAL d'ISERE, France (Dec. 11) - World Cup leader Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) finished third Sunday in a controversial "super combined" event to protect his points lead after Swiss Didier Defago, the apparent winner, was disqualified for an equipment violation.
OLN will provide race coverage Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.
Austrian Michael Walchhofer, who won Saturday's downhill, won the super combined, which was one shortened run of downhill and one run of slalom. Second place went to Rainer Schoenfelder and Miller moved up from fourth place to his fourth podium of the year. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), who had the third-fastest slalom time, was 10th with Scott Macartney (Redmond, WA) 21st after being fourth in the DH. Steve Nyman (Orem, UT) was 10th in the DH but skied out in the slalom.
"This was painful," said U.S. Head Coach Phil McNichol. "We'd all congratulated Martin [Rufener, Swiss head coach], and that was good, the Swiss guys had a great day, and then - Poof! - it was gone. I saw the hubbub at the equipment tent [at the finish line], someone said, 'Get Bode ready because someone in the top three is gonna get DQ'd, and the Rossignol guys went into the tent...and that was it. It's unfortunate."
McNichol: Macartney, Nyman ski “fantastic” DH
Defago, who rarely runs slalom except in a combined event, was DQ'd for higher pressure plates - on his skis, under the boots - than allowed. Guenther Hujara, men's race director for the International Ski Federation, checked and re-checked measurements on the pressure plates on Defago's skis before disqualifying him.
At the same time, McNichol was pleased with the U.S. results. "We had a good day. Two guys, Macartney and Nyman, skied a fantastic downhill, so that was exciting, and then 'Scotty Mac' got down the slalom hill - he hasn't trained much, of course. That downhill result will help him have a better start, which was exactly what he wanted.
"Unfortunately, Steve went out in the slalom; he hit a funky hole about seven gates in on the first hairpin, one that took out several racers."
After nine races, Miller has 379 points to 343 for Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who was seventh in Sunday's event. Walchhofer is third (318) with Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), who was a disappointed 19th in the DH and skipped the slalom, fourth at 303.
"Bode had a good day going," McNichol said, referring to his fifth-place finish in the DH, "but he made one big mistake on the lower half of the course or he probably could have won it. The slalom hill was kinda straight down the fall line, on skier's right from the downhill, a separate course but it fed into the bottom of the downhill at the last breakover before the finish. After training [Saturday], they set it, injected the whole course, then pulled the slalom gates out so they wouldn't interfere with the downhill as it cut across the slalom finish.
Miller made critical save in slalom
"But when they replaced the gates, the bottom was super-polished, very slick as it came into the downhill track. He went sideways and kinda skidded out but stayed in the course; Bode was comfortably ahead at the split and, even with a couple of decent slalom skiers to go, I think he would have done better than he did...
The slalom course wasn't as hard-hit, McNichol said, because it's lower on the hill and the mountain screens the wind more.
The next men's World Cup race is a night slalom Monday at Madonna diCampiglio, Italy, and then the tour moves on to its annual stop at week's end for a DH Friday and super G Saturday in Val Gardena, Italy, followed by a giant slalom Sunday in Alta Badia, Italy.
MEN'S ALPINE WORLD CUP
50th Criterium de la Premiere Neige
Val d'Isere, FRA - Dec. 11, 2005
Men's Super Combined (1 run DH, 1 run SL)
1. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, (3rd in DH, 11th in SL) 2:43.15
2. Rainer Schoenfelder, Austria, (14/2) 2:43.32
3. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., (5/12) 2:43.56
4. Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Norway, (2/21) 2:43.63
5. Benjamin Raich, Austria, (7/10) 2:43.76
10. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, (28/3) 2:45.20
21. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., (4/32) 2:47.41
DNF-SL: Steve Nyman, Orem, Utah
DNS-SL: Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif.
For complete results:
Winter X-Jam (X-Games Qualifiers) – January 13-15, 2006
Combine head-to-head downhill racing, motocross and NASCAR and you’ve got the Winter X-Jam. This premier winter sports event returns to Sugar Bowl for a 4th incredible year. The 2006 Winter X-Jam will feature top athletes from around the world competing for the last remaining slots in Skiercross and Boardercross at the X Games finals in Aspen. The “cross” races are races of speed and agility taking place in a specially crafted winding downhill course with S-curves, table tops, giant bumps and rollers. Limited contact is allowed between the racers in the gang start format. The X Games are filled with pure talent and raw passion and are considered a pinnacle event for extreme winter athletes. Boardercross is a new sanctioned event for the 2006 Olympics, so this is an awesome chance to preview the Olympic competition.
The Sugar Bowl event will be the only official open qualifying competition in the US. The top finishers from each heat advance until a winner is crowned…or survives!!
The Winter X-Jam at Sugar Bowl is free and open to the public. This is an excellent spectator event as all the action can be enjoyed from slope-side viewing points, the Mt Judah lift or the Judah deck. Don’t miss the chance to see this incredible event and prelude to the largest extreme sporting event in the world.
Gone Skiing .....