Austrian wins back-to-back downhills | AspenTimes.com

Austrian wins back-to-back downhills

Andrew Dampf
The Associated Press

Austria's Michael Walchhofer celebrates after winning a World Cup men's downhill, in Bormio, Italy, Friday, Dec. 29. (Simon Palfrader/AP)

Aspen, CO Colorado

BORMIO, Italy ” Austria’s Michael Walchhofer won a World Cup downhill race for the second consecutive day on Friday.

A day after snapping a 13-race winless streak for the Austrian men’s team, Walchhofer skied down the 1.8-mile Stelvio course in 1 minute, 51.82 seconds to become the first skier to win back-to-back downhills in Bormio. No other skier had ever won two straight races there, even from one year to the next.

Bode Miller, who failed to finish a downhill for the first time this season on Thursday, took fourth.

“It was a fantastic two days. Now I can start the new year with a lot of self confidence,” Walchhofer said.

Peter Fill of Italy was second, 0.22 seconds behind, and Mario Scheiber of Austria was third for the second straight day, 0.27 behind.

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Didier Cuche of Switzerland was fifth, 0.50 back, to retain his lead atop the downhill standings.

Walchhofer had a near-perfect run but lost time on the bottom portion of the course, where Fill was superb.

Miller was also much faster than Fill at the final split, but couldn’t keep it going.

“Bode just looked tired,” said Steven Nyman, Miller’s American teammate who finished 21st.

“I felt I skied well but I struggled a little with my line entering that last pitch,” Miller said in a news release from the U.S. team.

Miller declined requests for interviews after the event.

Marco Sullivan, another American, finished 12th.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished sixth and kept his lead in the overall standings. Svindal has 579 points, Miller is second with 540 and Cuche third with 535.

Friday’s downhill was the final event of the year for the men’s circuit. Racing resumes with a giant slalom and slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, on Jan. 6-7.