Originally created 12/17/05

Bode Miller not off to super start



VAL GARDENA, Italy - Bode Miller isn't off to the same flying start as last season.

The American finished eighth in a World Cup super-G Friday and lost his short-lived lead in the overall standings.

Hans Grugger, of Austria, won his first career super-G, and Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway, finished fifth to regain the lead he lost to Miller a week ago. Miller, though, trails by just two points.

Miller has won only one race this season, a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.

Last season, Miller won the first three races and four of the first five en route to becoming the first American to win the overall title in 22 years.

"If Bode had all the points now that he had at this point last season, I would be way behind," Svindal said, adding that he never thought he'd be in contention for the overall title.

Miller had great split times, but did not finish strong.

"I'm not sure what went wrong, but Bode got smoked on the bottom of the course," U.S. speed coach John McBride said. "We'll have to go over the video and see what he did wrong."

Svindal raced with bruised ribs and shoulder pain following a fall in downhill training Wednesday. He also holds an 11-point lead over Friday's runner-up Erik Guay atop the super-G standings.

"I'm not thinking too much about the overall now," Svindal said.

The overall race was supposed to be between Miller and Austria's Benjamin Raich, who finished second last season.

Raich has also had a slow start to this season and is currently seventh overall.

Friday's race was also not the best indicator of form because it was shaped by changing course conditions, which hurt later starters who ran into melting snow on the bottom section of the course.