The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

January 23, 2014

Bode Miller dominates DH training in Kitzbuehel

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Bode Miller led a training session for the classic Hahnenkamm race by a huge margin on Thursday, leaving his World Cup rivals in awe just 17 days before the Sochi Olympics downhill.

Miller was well ahead of the field from the first split time before finishing the challenging Streif course in 2 minutes, 2.93 seconds.

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal came 0.96 back in second, while third-place Hannes Reichelt of Austria finished a massive 2.35 seconds behind the American.

"I've been focusing on this race all year," said Miller, who finished runner-up in 2008 and '11 but has yet to win the downhill in the Austrian resort. "I know it's hard to win here. I've put a lot of energy in being ready here ... And I think I had fast skis today, too. Obviously on this track you can't do much if your skis are not running."

Last year's winner Dominik Paris of Italy and Olympic downhill champion Didier Defago of Switzerland shared 10th, trailing Miller by 3.21 seconds.

It was the only training run before Saturday's race after mild temperatures softened the snow and made runs earlier this week impossible. Organizers had to change the bottom part of the course to avoid the Hausbergkante, one of the marquee sections, where snow conditions were still insufficient.

Miller mastered the steep upper section by choosing a different race line, allowing him to take more speed coming out of the Steilhang curve.

"I was higher through the Steilhang and exited it much better than where the tracks were," Miller said. "The tracks were done before me, no one was up high where I was. That makes a huge difference. You cut off the line but you also carry speed onto the road."

Miller drew praise from his competitors, who acknowledged they had been left with some homework before Saturday's race.

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