Miller moves up all-time national win list | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Miller moves up all-time national win list

USSA and Tribune reports

The Associated Press Bode Miller drives around a gate on his way to winning the men's giant slalom at the U.S. Alpine Championships on Tuesday.

SUGARLOAF, Maine – Local favorite Bode Miller of Bretton Woods, N.H., took advantage of some hesitation Tuesday by Olympic teammate and first-run leader Jimmy Cochran of Keene, N.H., to pick off his eighth national title, winning the giant slalom at the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships.

Miller, who spent his elite developmental years at nearby Carrabassett Valley Academy, earned his second gold medal of the championships at Sugarloaf USA with a two-run time of 2 minutes, 8.15 seconds. His eighth U.S. championship puts him right behind Tiger Shaw and the late Dick Durrance, who won nine titles each.

All three local racers entered finished their two runs. Shane Collins of Kirkwood led the way with a 31st-place result. Collins’ two-run time was 2:17.28.

Marty Harris of South Lake Tahoe had his best national result to date with a 39th-place finish. Despite starting 78th, Harris worked his way up the ladder with an especially strong second run (1:08.11) and a total time of 2:19.11.

Travis Ganong of North Shore finished just ahead of Harris in 38th with a two-run time of 2:18.77.

Marco Sullivan of Truckee did not race.

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Cochran, who raced No. 1 with Miller starting No. 2, led by four-hundredths of a second after the first-run and finished in 2:09.23 for his third silver medal in 24 hours; he was second Monday in slalom and in the combined calculation. Chip Knight of Stowe, Vt., third in the slalom, took another bronze with a time of 2:09.75.

“I got nervous before that second run,” Cochran conceded. Because you’d be taking down the king? “Yeah, Bode got me,” he said.

Miller had kidded with him between runs, Cochran explained. “He was saying how he’s coming for me,” he said, so he and Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety of Park City – the only skier ahead of Cochran on Monday in the slalom and combined – replied they’d gang up and take Miller out at the start so he couldn’t take a second run. And when Miller laid down the fastest second run, Cochran said he tightened up.

“I knew he was the guy to beat,” Cochran said. “When he came through the finish first run and saw that he was behind, I think he was a little surprised. He certainly had a mistake so it wasn’t a huge surprise, I guess. He had something to prove that run.”

“When I saw a second back, I was like, ‘Ooooh, I wonder what happened.’ Then I heard that he had been way ahead, so that’s pretty good.”

Miller had a problem midway through the first run, avoiding the fence as he came into the final pitch. The buffed course allowed him to push the limit on his racing and he was “right on the edge of what your equipment can handle” as he came down the sun-bathed run.

Even with longtime racing mates Daron Rahlves of Truckee – now retired – and Erik Schlopy, home with his wife as she expects their first child, not competing, Miller said he was “excited” to be racing.

“We have a team right now that makes it worthwhile to race against,” he said.

He called Cochran “Von Gruenigen-esque, the way his touch is,” a highly complimentary reference to Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen, who ruled GS for many years before retiring. But, Miller said, Cochran is inconsistent.

“He has the potential to be dominant on the tech side … could be untouchable” when he figures out when to take full risks.

The Banknorth championships – with $3,000 for a gold medal – conclude today with the women’s giant slalom.

2006 TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships

Sugarloaf, ME – March 28, 2006

Men’s Giant Slalom

1. Bode Miller, Bretton Woods, N.H., 2:08.15

2. James Cochran, Keene, N.H., 2:09.23

3. Chip Knight, Stowe, Vt., 2:09.75

4. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, 2:10.32

5. Warner Nickerson, Gilford, N.H., 2:10.84

6. Evan Weiss, Seattle, 2:11.95

7. Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y., 2:11.99

8. Charles Christianson, Anchorage, Alaska, 2:12.30

9. Steve Nyman, Orem, Utah, 2:12.46

10. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., 2:12.53