Sun, Dec 12, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Bode Miller takes opening downhill events by storm

AP , VAL D'ISERE, FRANCE

The Bode Show is back in Europe.

Going from technical specialist to dominant speed racer, Bode Miller swept the opening three races of the ski season to become only the fifth man in history to win in all four alpine disciplines.

The 27-year-old American star has stolen the spotlight from Hermann Maier and the rest of the dominant Austrian team going into today's downhill at Val D'Isere.

"I hope it continues," Miller said. "This is another challenge for me here."

Miller clocked the fifth-best time in training Friday despite slowing down before the finish line. He was later disqualified for wearing a giant slalom suit instead of downhill gear.

After his victory in the season-opening giant slalom, Miller won two downhills and finished second in two super-G races.

He's upstaged the speed specialists, including teammate Daron Rahlves, Olympic champion Fritz Strobl, Switzerland's Didier Cuche, Frenchman Antoine Deneriaz and Austrian star Michael Walchhofer.

Miller, who is chasing Maier's World Cup overall title, leads the general standings with 480 points -- 206 ahead of his Austrian rival going into Saturday's downhill at Val d'Isere.

Miller also tops the downhill, super-G and giant slalom standings as the circuit returns to the icier, wetter European snow.

The Val D'Isere course has been redesigned this season, mainly for safety reasons and to give the course more flow.

"There aren't a whole lot of technical parts to this course so I have to have to ski an almost error-free run like in Lake Louise," Miller said. "It's different snow here. There's also jet lag but everybody is in the same boat. I'm psyched."

Maier won in Val D'Isere in the 2000-2001 season but has not raced here since the horrific motorcycle crash three years ago that nearly cost him a leg.

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