Originally created 12/16/06

Miller wins, alleges sabotage



VAL GARDENA, Italy - With or without a good night's sleep, Bode Miller is still winning ski races.

The American won a super-giant slalom by a large margin on Friday, racing to his 23rd World Cup victory and second in two weeks. Afterward, he again criticized U.S. team rules that don't allow him to sleep in his motor home.

The U.S. team instituted a rule this season requiring skiers to sleep in the team hotel rather than personal RVs. The rule appears designed to rein in Miller, who left the Turin Olympics last winter with no medals but plenty of criticism for his late-night partying.

"My team is sabotaging me a little bit by not letting me sleep in my motor home," Miller said.

He certainly appeared alert on the Saslong course, skiing an error-free run in his fluid and relaxed style. He won in 1 minute, 32.35 seconds, with a massive 0.64-second advantage over Christoph Gruber of Austria.

Canada's John Kucera was third, 0.73 back.

Miller had never finished better than fourth here, but thin snow cover made the course better suited to his style.

"The way it is now is the toughest I've ever seen it," Miller said.

"I knew if I didn't make any mistakes today I had a better chance to win here than ever before. When I got to the finish line I wasn't surprised I was in the lead."

Gruber wasn't surprised, either.

"We all know that if Bode skis a perfect run he can be unbeatable," the Austrian said. "So it was OK for me to be 64 hundredths back."

Miller said he has a device that measures how much sleep he gets. He said he averages five hours in the hotel, compared to 7 to 8 hours in his trailer.

Miller said that if he continues to sleep poorly, he will take up the issue with the team.

U.S. men's coach Phil McNichol said the problem isn't where Miller sleeps, but rather "participating with the team and not being reclusive."