VAL GARDENA, Italy… Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) and Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) finished 17-18 in the famed Saslong classic downhill Saturday as a barrage of late starters stormed into the points. Of the top 30 finishers, 10 started from beyond 31, including Nyman. Swiss Sylvan Zubriggen took the win for his first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory.
The race will air on Universal Sports 24-hour TV network at 2 p.m. ET with streaming available at www.UniversalSports.com.
“We had some fresh snow yesterday, so it was a matter of finding the polished part,” said Nyman, who was .01 behind Miller. “If you stayed on the polished part, you could make up time. Anyone could attack from the back and win this thing.”
One of the most acclaimed downhill victories, the Saslong has been a standard World Cup stop since 1969 with Nyman taking the famed title in 2006. It remains the only time an American has notched the coveted victory.
“This is one of my favorites,” said Nyman. “It just has the most air time. There are five jumps where you fly over 20-30 meters and a couple of jumps where you fly 50-60 meters.”
Romed Baumann of Austria was second by. 06 for the first World Cup podium of his career, followed by Swiss great Didier Cuche, who was a mere .10 from the win as single digit temperatures and crystalline skies cleared the way for extremely fast times.
Miller had trouble in the wide open gliding sections at the top before plunging into the forest to make up more than half a second.
“Bode skied really well on the bottom,” said Head Coach Sasha Rearick. “Actually, he’s been skiing really well all week in the more technical sections where he can use his skills to make turns and work with the terrain. But up top was not competitive.”
Following the race, Miller and other international racers competing in tomorrow’s giant slalom in nearby Alta Badia boarded a helicopter for direct transfer to the next valley where they will join World Cup GS leader Ted Ligety (Park City, UT).
Ligety, along with Olympians Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) have been training at the men’s U.S. Ski Team European Training base in Paganella, Italy to prepare for Alta Badia.
“Tommy Ford and Tim Jitloff have had some good training the last couple of days in Paganella, Ted has too,” added Rearick. “Bode skied one day in Paganella this week and was skiing quite well on the ice, so we’re excited to go and chuck it down the hill.”
Ligety is undefeated in GS this season with decisive victories in both Beaver Creek, CO and Val d’Isere, France.
“Travis [Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA] and I are going to ski from here using the Dolomiti Superski to Alta Badia to watch Ted rip it up tomorrow,” said Nyman, referring to the pass that connects 12 Italian resorts with lifts in Southern Tyrol.
Alta Badia will stream live on www.UniversalSports.com beginning at 3:45 a.m. ET.
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup
Val Gardena, Italy – Dec. 18, 2010
1. Sylvan Zubriggen, Switzerland, 1:57.21
2. Romed Baumann, Austria, 1:57.27
3. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 1:57.31
4. Klaus Kroell, Austria, 1:57.32
5. Michael Walchhofer, Austria, 1:57.56
17. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:58.74
30. Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT, 1:58.75
33. Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:59.39
51. Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID, 2:00.83
54. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY, 2:01.03
DNF: Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA