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 . world ski news
28 December 2008 - 20:15
Italys Innerhofer notches 1st World Cup victory
Bode Millers skipping of bib draw to be reviewed
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(AP) BORMIO, Italy - Christof Innerhofer of Italy notched his first World Cup victory Sunday in the year-ending downhill, and defending champion Bode Miller of the United States finished fourth despite a ploy to get a more favorable starting spot. Innerhofer finished in 2 minutes, 3.55 seconds on the 2-mile Stelvio course, which was icier and harder than usual this year.


Italy's Christoph Innerhofer speeds down the course on his way to winning an alpine ski, Men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

Klaus Kroell was second, 0.32 seconds behind, and fellow Austrian Michael Walchhofer placed third, 0.95 back. Miller was 1.15 seconds off the pace.


Austria's Klaus Kroell takes a curve as he speeds down the course during an alpine ski, Men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Kroell finished in second place. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

The American missed Saturdays compulsory bib draw and was fined $933 and given the No. 46 starting spot, when better light was expected.

The top skiers are normally drawn among the first 25 starters. Miller explained his absence by saying he was getting medical attention, adding that he didnt mind being penalized.

"It was more my wrist is busted up and I needed to get it fixed," he said. "I wasnt worried about the repercussions."

Miller, who started long after the other contenders, missed his chance of a podium place after slamming into a gate on the upper section of the course.

"It just knocked the wind out of me a little bit, and distracted me," Miller said. "It got me pretty good. I got a little too tight in on it and just went straight through the middle of it."

Miller was faster than Innerhofer through the first two time checks before the error, and was on pace to finish third at the final checkpoint before making an error in the lower section.

"The top was what affected me more for the bottom, because you use up so much energy trying to make a recovery from what happened on the top that it cost me that little bit of energy you need to be smooth on the bottom," said Miller, who remains without a win this season.

Marco Sullivan of Tahoe City, Calif., finished 11th and Scott Macartney of Kirkland, Wash., finished 21st for the United States. Miller skis independently of the U.S. team.

Two skiers crashed Marco Marsaglia of Italy and Bryon Friedman of Park City, Utah. Both appeared to avoid any serious injuries, though the subsequent delays pushed back Millers start even later.

"It hurt a little bit when those two guys crashed," Miller said, referring to the light. "It would have been perfect had that not happened."

The 24-year-old Innerhofer was the first skier out of the gate.

"I was very nervous waiting for Bode Miller," Innerhofer said. "He had an incredible run."

Miller won the downhill last year and took gold in both the downhill and super-G at the 2005 world championships held in Bormio.

"If anyone could do it, he could, but today was my day," Innerhofer said.


Italy's Christof Innerhofer kiss the trophy on podium after the men's downhill event at the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Bormio, northern Italy December 28, 2008. Innerhofer won the race ahead of Austria's Klaus Kroell and Michael Walchhofer. REUTERS / Alessandro Garofalo ( ITALY )

The sun came out for the later starters and Miller had clearer conditions when he skied. However, clouds made the light even over the entire course for earlier starters.

"In the end, there wasnt much difference," said Innerhofer, whose best previous result was fourth in the super-G in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.

Walchhofer retained a 225-215 lead over Kroell in the downhill standings, and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway kept a 444-393 advantage over Benjamin Raich in the overall ranks. Svindal finished 17th.

By ANDREW DAMPF
12/28/2008 09:46:25 AM
The Associated Press

Bode Millers skipping of bib draw to be reviewed

(AP) BORMIO, Italy - Skiings governing body plans to review whether Bode Miller intentionally skipped a compulsory bib draw in an attempt to receive a more favorable starting position for Sundays downhill.


Bode Miller, of the United States, speeds down the course during an alpine ski, Men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Miller, who skipped Saturday's compulsory bib draw in order to get a later starting number, finished fourth. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

"Its a mockery," International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper told The Associated Press at the race, in which Miller finished fourth.

The American was the only competitor to miss Saturdays compulsory draw, and was fined $933 by the FIS.

"Forest called me after the time was up," FIS mens race director Guenther Hujara said, referring to Forest Carey, the head coach of Millers independent squad. "The rules are very clear."

Top racers like Miller are usually drawn to start from 15th to 25th, but by missing the draw he had to line up after 45th, and became the 46th starter.

The icy bottom section of the Stelvio course, the toughest part of the 2-mile run, would be out of the shade and in the sun for later starters.

Miller explained his absence by saying he was receiving medical attention after injuring himself slightly in training Saturday, adding that he didnt mind being penalized.

"It was more my wrist is busted up and I needed to get it fixed," he said. "I wasnt worried about the repercussions."

FIS official Mike Kertesz said the case will be forwarded to the federations appeals commission, and that Miller risks more punishment as a repeat offender.

"Hes definitely been late for a public draw in the past _ late or not attending," Kertesz said, adding that Millers fine could be increased to more than $4,500 .

Public bib draws are held each race weekend on the World Cup circuit _ usually in the host resorts central square or plaza.

"There were 2,000 kids there, saying Wheres Bode, wheres Bode? and we have to announce that hes been sanctioned, and it just puts a negative effect on the whole bib draw," Kertesz said.

Miller also has a bad ankle and bruised ribs from a fall in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.

"He enters all the races and hes banged up a bit. The doctors were taking care of him. Hes no spring chicken anymore," Carey said, adding that gaining a later start position and the light issue "were a byproduct of it."

Miller had sunnier conditions than nearly all of his chief rivals, and was faster than race winner Christof Innerhofer through the first two checkpoints before hitting a gate and losing time.

His start time was pushed back even further when two skiers crashed shortly before his run.

"It hurt a little bit when those two guys crashed. It would have been perfect had that not happened," Miller said, referring to the light.

Miller won the downhill on the Stelvio last year and took gold in both downhill and super-G here at the 2005 world championships.

"With the conditions the way they are in Bormio right now _ its freezing cold and rock hard _ it doesnt matter if you start with bib No. 100, youre getting the same (snow) conditions, so its about the light," Kertesz said. "We dont want to have rules where if you break the rules you have an advantage."

By ANDREW DAMPF
12/28/2008 10:11:31 AM
The Associated Press


Italy's Christoph Innerhofer, center, winner of an alpine ski, Men's World Cup downhill race, celebrates on the podium with second placed Klaus Kroell, of Austria, left, and third placed Michael Walchhofer, of Austria, in Bormio, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Simon Palfrader)


 
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Next:
Zettel wins women's World Cup giant slalom – 28 December 2008 - 20:16
Ammann starts Four Hills title bid with victory in opener  – 30 December 2008 - 11:31
Follis and Hetland wins Tour de Ski sprints in Prague – 30 December 2008 - 11:31
Second successive slalom win surprises Riesch in Semmering – 30 December 2008 - 11:31
Final preparations underway for Moscow promotional parallel slalom – 02 January 2009 - 14:21

Previous:
Tour de Ski: Germans win both prologues – 28 December 2008 - 20:00
Lodwick runner-up in 2nd straight Nordic meet – 28 December 2008 - 19:58
Telemark World Cup season launches in France and Switzerland – 27 December 2008 - 13:29
Tour de Ski Countdown – 27 December 2008 - 13:26
Kostelic day in Alta Badia – 22 December 2008 - 15:15

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