Viletta of Switzerland earns first World Cup win
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Sandro Viletta of Switzerland captured his first World Cup win on Saturday by charging down a challenging super G course, while Bode Miller’s risk taking came back to hurt him.
Starting way back at 30th and with snow falling, Viletta soared down the steep hill and finished in a time of 1 minute, 18.71 seconds to overtake Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway by 0.20 seconds. Beat Feuz of Switzerland took third.
Before Saturday, Viletta’s best World Cup finish was fourth in a giant slalom nearly three years ago in Adelboden, Switzerland.
With the weather and the course precisely to his liking, Viletta stood in the starting gate and convinced himself to let loose.
“I risked all at the top,” the 25-year-old Viletta said. “I just pushed as much I can.”
Viletta emulated the aggressive style that served Miller so well the day before when the American won the downhill. Miller took massive risks on that run, and was highly rewarded.
This time, not so much.
Miller’s hard-charging style led to an early mistake and he needed an acrobatic recovery just to stay on the course. He finished 21st, which was 1.40 seconds behind Viletta.
Afterward, Miller said he had the right line. And if he could’ve executed it properly, he might have been on the podium. That’s how well he was skiing.
With Miller, it’s either feast of famine. There’s rarely anything in between.
“You’ve got to take a risk or you don’t have a good chance,” Miller told The Associated Press as made his way through the crowd and on down the hill after the race. “I was skiing well, but once you make that mistake there, it’s over.
“I pushed everywhere, just one (bad) turn.”
Andrew Weibrecht had the top finish for the United States as he finished 10th.
For Feuz, the beat goes on at Birds of Prey as he worked his way onto the podium for a second straight day. He was second in the downhill on Friday.
“The snow really seems to suit us Swiss,” Feuz said through a translator.
The fact the Swiss had two skiers on the podium hardly came as a surprise. But that one wasn’t named Didier Cuche was a little starting. Cuche entered the race as one of the favorites, but he wound up ninth for a second straight day.
Still, Cuche was quite pleased for his proteges.
After all, they help keep the 37-year-old Cuche young and skiing fast.
“The guys are pushing harder now,” Cuche said. “It’s good for the team.”
Just when Svindal was starting to think he had a win sewn up, along came Viletta’s run.
Although Svindal didn’t ski great at the top, no one really had. Austria’s Georg Streitberger, the defending champion at this event, skied off early, as did Ted Ligety.
But once Svindal caught a glimpse of Viletta gliding through the top section of the hill so effortlessly, so smoothly, Svindal knew he was in trouble. Viletta had the top time through that demanding stretch and carried it on through to the finish, pumping his poles after crossing the line.
“The way Viletta skied that (top), he absolutely earned the victory,” Svindal said.
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