Miller crashes out, Janka wins World Cup downhill
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
WENGEN, Switzerland – Bode Miller crashed near the finish line and Carlo Janka of Switzerland won the prestigious World Cup downhill race Saturday on the Lauberhorn course.
Miller, who was unhurt, said he hit a bump approaching a right-hand turn in the closing S-bend and his right hip hit the snow before he slid off course.
“I couldn’t see great and went a little bit too direct,” Miller said. “I just missed the timing of it.”
Miller was poised to take the lead from early pacesetter Buechel before he lost control. Miller edged Janka on Friday in the super combined.
Janka finished in 2 minutes, 32.23 seconds over the classic 2.77-mile track, the longest on the World Cup circuit. Janka was 0.66 seconds faster than Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Canada, and Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein was third.
Janka’s fourth victory of the season gave him the lead in the overall World Cup standings.
“Winning in Wengen is the dream of any Swiss skier,” said Janka, who competing in the Lauberhorn race for only the second time.
He has 757 points, 68 more than Austrian technical specialist Benjamin Raich, who skipped the race.
Janka won despite being 14th fastest through the Haneggschuss section where racers reach the highest speeds of the season. Klaus Kroell of Austria was clocked at 88.9 mph before finishing ninth.
Janka excelled by carrying his speed through technical mid-race turns on a course lined by a Wengen record of 32,000 spectators under mostly clear skies.
Osborne-Paradis said he did not expect his podium finish after poor training runs in the week.
“I was having a lot of doubts this week,” he said. “I have no idea how I was fast today. I took more risks.”
Osborne-Paradis briefly held the lead after taking it from Buechel, who at 38 was skiing his favorite Lauberhorn race for the last time in his farewell season.
Janka also won the Wengen super-combi last year and has six career World Cup victories, plus a world title in giant slalom.
Buechel described Janka as “the whole package” who would soon win an overall title.
“He brings everything, he has so much talent,” said Buechel, who trains with the Swiss team. “He is one of the best skiers I have ever seen.”
Janka, whose low-key personality and even temperament earned him the nickname “Iceman,” played down the praise.
“I’m in good shape … and I have a good feeling on the skis,” he said. “When I’m on the start, I can focus on my run and the pressure is away.”
Didier Cuche, Switzerland’s top downhill racer in recent seasons, tied for fifth place. Janka closed within eight points of Cuche in the World Cup downhill standings.
The 80th Lauberhorn race weekend ends with a two-run slalom race Sunday.
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The 2020-21 Nordic combined season was supposed to be historic. This winter was going to be the first ever with women’s Nordic combined World Cup events, the first scheduled for Dec. 3-6 in Lillehammer, Norway.