Bode Miller won his first race in a season and a half Friday (Jan. 15) capturing the 80th Lauberhorn combined at Wengen, Switzerland. Miller claimed the morning downhill leg then ran a smart slalom leg to take the win away from the hosts as Swiss Carlo Janka was second and Silvan Zurbriggen third.
Ted Ligety posted fifth matching his second best Cup result all-time in the two event discipline. World Cup standings leader Benjamin Raich was fourth with the fastest slalom time.
It is the 32nd World Cup victory for Miller, the U.S. record holder and his sixth win in combined. He is the first American to win a World Cup combined at Wengen and the first to win the Lauberhorn combined since Buddy Werner in 1958.
Despite a couple of “big” errors in the downhill leg, Miller won the run, a result that has him looking forward to the speed run tomorrow. It was his equipment, however, that had him completely amped after the race.
“It was a great day, a breakthrough day in my equipment,” he explained. “Today was the first day I had a downhill set up I really felt I could win on.” He even used the same boots for both the downhill and the slalom something he said he had never done before. “My first turns on the boots and skis (in slalom) were in the race. No warm-up or anything. I feel I have the set up now in all four disciplines where I can be a threat to win and be on the podium and it’s been a long time since I felt that way.”
Miller said his execution was lacking, that he was fortunate to have won the downhill leg after taking a tour of the soft snow in Canadian Corner. And while he blistered the middle of the slalom course, he added, “I skied with the emergency brake on most of the way,” something that is tricky since the slalom ski set-up is a difficult one to tame down. “If I back off it doesn’t work very well,” he said. “It kind of bounces.”
Ligety was more concerned with getting a finish down a slalom course than he was trying to snag a win. That he wound up as strongly as fifth is remarkable considering.
“I knew I had to make up time, so I was trying to go hard, but I wanted to make to the finish line, too. I think I was more toward the side of taking it easy. I wanted to get a little confidence, get to the finish and not be too slow.”
“Ted had an impressive downhill run for his ability and experience,” said head coach Sasha Rearick. “Fantasic execution.”
Rearick was also obviously glad the men’s team had finally corralled a win. “Hearing the national anthem, that feels good.” He commended Miller’s downhill run and called the slalom effort, “smart, solid tactical skiing, and that’s what he needs to do to win races.”
With Miller’s late start to the season – he didn’t decide to return to the U.S. Ski Team and compete this year until September – he’s figuring this win signals he is right where he needs to be in order to be ready for the Vancouver Olympics in February.
“That was the idea. When I came back we started looking at my program and where I was going to peak and ski strong. … This couple of weeks, Wengen, Kitzbuehel and then carry it right into the Games. It was a kind of natural peak of things.”
Now, he indicates, it’s a matter of being able to put down “extreme winning runs, where you beat everybody whether they ski their best or not. … With the set-ups I have now I feel like anybody can ski their best and I can go down and beat them if I ski well.”
Miller photos by GEPA
By Hank McKee
Men’s super combined, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2010
1 Miller, Head/Head/Head
2 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Zurbriggen, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Ligety, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Kostelic, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
7 Bank, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Svindal, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
10 Innerhofer, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Men’s super combined, Wengen, Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2010. … It is the first race of the 80th annual Lauberhorn. … It is the 18th race of the men’s 35 race 2010 World Cup schedule. … The third of four scheduled combineds. … It is the 87th World Cup race at Wengen (at least in part). … the 20th combined.
It is the 32nd career World Cup win for Bode Miller, extending the U.S. record. … It is his sixth combined win. … It is his first win since March 1, 2008 when he won a DH at Kvitfjell, Norway. … It is his third win at Wengen having twice won the Lauberhorn DH (2007 and 2008). … It is the 205th U.S. World Cup win and the seventh this season. … It is the first U.S. win of the season for anyone other than Lindsey Vonn. … He is the first American since Buddy Werner (’58) to win the Lauberhorn combined.
It is the 11th career World Cup podium for Carlo Janka. … his fourth in combined. … He won the Wengen combined last season. … It is his seventh podium of the season in 10 completed races and his second combined podium of the season having won at Beaver Creek in December.
It is the seventh career World Cup podium for Silvan Zurbriggen. … his fifth in combined. … He has been third in combined at Wengen three times (2007, 2009 and 2010). … It is his second podium of the season, the first in slalom at Alta Badia.
It is the 32nd career World cup top five for Ted Ligety. … his fourth in combined. … He has never placed better than fourth in combined. … It is the second time he has placed fifth in combined at Wengen (2008). … It is his fourth top five of the season and his first score in combined this season. … It is the first score of the season for Ryan Semple and his first since March 9, 2007 at Kvitfjell when he also placed 23rd in combined.
Benjamin Raich (4th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 689-657 over Janka. … Aksel Lund Svindal (8th in race) moves past Didier Cuche (DNS SL) into third 486-481. … Ted Ligety is in seventh overall with 362pts. … Miller moves to ninth with 318pts. … Manny Obsorne-Paradis (DNS SL) is the top Canadian in 13th place with 268pts. … Raich also leads the combined standings 186-180 over Janka with Miller third at 145. … Semple is the lone Canadian on that list in 42nd place with 8pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 4832-3785 over Switzerland. … Italy is third at 2973. … The U.S. is fifth at 2421 and Canada eighth at 1538.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|8||17||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:48.61||48.92||2:37.53||12.48|
|16||14||421400||MYHRE Lars Elton||1984||NOR||1:50.86||47.95||2:38.81||22.66|
|20||27||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:51.20||48.33||2:39.53||28.38|
|41||57||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||1:54.44||49.53||2:43.97||63.69|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|60||60159||VAN BUYNDER Frederik||1988||BEL|
|Did not start 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|