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Miller poised for breakthrough in Bormio

 Bode Miller, of the United States, looks at the scoreboard after completing practice for an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Ita...
 Bode Miller of the United States speeds down the course during practice for an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Italy, Tuesday, ...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Bode Miller, of the United States, looks at the scoreboard after completing practice for an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Ita...

Italy Alpine Skiing World Cup

Bode Miller of the United States speeds down the course during practice for an alpine ski, men's World Cup downhill race, in Bormio, Italy, Tuesday, ...

Bode Miller feels like he's ready to get back on the podium.
After collecting gold, silver and bronze medals at last season's Vancouver Olympics, the American's best finish this campaign was an eighth-place result in the opening downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta, a month ago.
Wednesday's World Cup downhill in Bormio, on a course where Miller has posted three victories and nine top-10 finishes over his career, should present the perfect opportunity for him to get back on track.
Miller showed his potential by placing fourth in Tuesday's final training session.
"It's just matching up the right setup and the right tactics and the right race day conditions," Miller said. "I know the course. I don't need to inspect it much, so it's just execution."
Other favorites include Klaus Kroell of Austria, who led the final training session, and Christof Innerhofer of Italy, who led Monday's opening training run and won this race two years ago.
Miller swept both speed races _ super-G and downhill _ on the Stelvio course during the 2005 world championships, in which he also completed a memorable one-ski descent during the combined event. His other win in Bormio came in 2007.
Miller didn't train speed over the summer and is still tinkering with his equipment. But the Stelvio is such a tough course _ most skiers consider it the most physically demanding on the circuit _ that equipment is usually not the deciding factor here.
"It's just pretty turny and there's not a ton of gliding, so even if your skis aren't running the very best, you don't have to rely on having very fast skis that day," Miller said. "Whereas on some hills if you don't have fast skis that day you just don't win."
At 33, coaches have been urging Miller to scale back his schedule, and he was slated to skip this race.
"But he decided he wanted to go," U.S. head coach Sasha Rearick said, adding that Miller has been "putting in tremendous effort" in training, and that "there's still a lot more speed in him."
At 3.27 kilometers (2.03 miles), the Stelvio trails only the classic Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland, as the longest course on the circuit. But the constant bumps from top to bottom and shade virtually all the way down result in almost every skier bending down to their knees in exhaustion upon reaching the finish.
"For two minutes straight you're turning, you're edge to edge, you're trying not to fight the hill and ski it as clean as you can and carry the speed," explained Canada's Robbie Dixon. "In Wengen, you're cruising and searching for speed and gliding. It's different."
Two skiers, Louis-Pierre Helie of Canada and Marco Sullivan of the United States, crashed in training Tuesday and were being flown to a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, to check on head injuries.
Innerhofer cruised down in the final training, placing 34th.
"The race is tomorrow, so it's doesn't make any sense to put all the effort in today," he explained. "I already had a good run yesterday and the line is pretty clear. I feel good on this course, it's steep and turny and that's what I like."
Two-time overall World Cup winner Aksel Lund Svindal is competing with a partially fractured rib _ the result of a recent fall in Val Gardena _ although the Norwegian said it doesn't affect him while he's skiing.
Swiss veteran Didier Cuche, who was third in the final training session, has modest goals.
"Just finishing here is an accomplishment," Cuche said. "So being in the top five would satisfy me."


Updated : 2020-12-03 22:36 GMT+08:00