Bode irate about race cancellation
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
BORMIO, Italy ” Bode Miller criticized race organizers Tuesday for canceling the season’s final World Cup downhill because of weather, which allowed Didier Cuche to clinch his second straight discipline title.
The downhill race, scheduled for today, was canceled after organizers called off a training run Tuesday because of overnight snow and foggy conditions. The Swiss skier had a five-point lead on Miller heading into the race.
Miller, who leads in the overall World Cup standings, is vying with Cuche and Benjamin Raich of Austria for the overall title.
“The evidence points to they didn’t want to get the race off,” Miller told The Associated Press in an interview outside his trailer. “There was no discussion, or including the coaches or athletes. The athletes would have run today, no question.”
Miller holds a 169-point lead on Cuche in the overall standings, with Raich 264 points behind with three races left. He noted a Swiss and Austrian coach were chosen to confer with race officials about canceling the training run.
“The Swiss have an angle to not race because their guy wins the title if we don’t race today, and it’s very risky for them to get that title if we do race,” he said. “The Austrians have an angle because they don’t want an extra bunch of points that Raich isn’t going to score ” that me and Cuche would score ” for the overall title.”
Cuche said he was “sorry to win it this way.”
World Cup rules require at least one training session before a downhill. After it stopped snowing early Tuesday, skies turned clear and sunny by midmorning, although warm temperatures made the course soft and slushy.
Miller said organizers could have attempted to get the training in later in the day, shortened the course or changed the program by canceling the team event Sunday.
“I mean, the course is in good shape except for the last 15 seconds,” Miller said. “It’s clear that they could have done any one of those options if they wanted to, to prepare to run the race tomorrow. And if it’s unsafe tomorrow, you make that choice tomorrow. To me, it seems pretty clear that they wanted to not have this race.”
Women’s training also was canceled Tuesday, but the women’s downhill will go ahead today because they were able to train Monday.
Men’s World Cup director Guenther Hujara pointed to the unanimous decision by the race jury.
“It was not possible because the snow did not provide safe conditions,” Hujara said. “If Bode was in the lead and Cuche was five points behind, the Swiss would be calling me right now.”
Miller’s coach, John McBride, was upset the decision to call off training was made before noon.
“I mean with 25 guys in the field, we could have been running at 3 in the afternoon,” McBride said.
When asked if he is receiving any insider information on the terrain, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde — the boyfriend of Edwards’ own Mikaela Shiffrin — chuckled and replied, “You probably think so, but I actually I don’t.”