Bode Miller

Bode Miller struggles in Bormio downhill (video)

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Bode Miller had set himself up for success in Bormio, Italy, taking second and fifth in training runs at an Alps town where he’s historically flourished.

But Miller simply ran out of gas in a foggy, snowy World Cup downhill race Sunday. The five-time Olympic medalist finished 35th, well behind Norwegian winner Aksel Lund Svindal.

“This wasn’t good for my confidence,” Miller said, according to The Associated Press. “But my skiing was fine.”

Svindal prevailed by .39 of a second over Austrian Hannes Reichelt. Canadian Erik Guay was third.

Svindal, the world champion and World Cup overall leader, won his 25th career World Cup race, fourth this season and second downhill this season. He’s looking like the Olympic gold-medal favorite in the downhill and the super-G.

“Things are going well this season,” Svindal said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I am still in top form. There is always a risk with what bib you get for the race.”

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Bormio on Jan. 6.

Miller, 36, entered Bormio with momentum from fifth- and eighth-place finishes in speed races in Val Gardena last weekend. He placed outside the top 25 for the first time in seven speed races this season. A pair of his skis — for giant slalom — were stolen from under his motor home overnight, adding to the frustration.

“Unfortunately, now looking at this, it was an omen for how the day was going to go,” said Miller’s wife, Morgan, according to the AP. “He’s figuring it out for Sochi, and that’s all that matters.”

It was not his day in Bormio, but another American posted the third top-10 of his career.

Travis Ganong, 25, was 10th, three spots lower than his career best in Bormio one year ago.

Bormio Downhill
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:54.08
2. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) 1:54.47
3. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:54.59
4. Adrien Theaux (FRA) 1:54.97
5. Matthias Mayer (AUT) 1:55.04
6. Christof Innerhofer (ITA) 1:55.06
7. Didier Defago (SUI) 1:55.21
7. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) 1:55.21
9. Silvano Varettoni (ITA) 1:55.22
10. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:55.26
22. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:55.89
35. Bode Miller (USA) 1:56.46
45. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:56.96
46. Steven Nyman (USA) 1:57.07
58. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:57.88
60. Bryce Bennett (USA) 1:58.07
DNF. Nick Daniels (USA)

Strange DQ in speed skating trials

Olympic champion, Tour de France runner-up tests positive

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Samuel Sanchez, a 2008 Olympic champion and 2010 Tour de France runner-up, was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned growth hormone on Aug. 9.

Sanchez, a 39-year-old Spaniard, was due to race the Vuelta a España starting Saturday but is now out indefinitely until the conclusion of his case. That may include the testing of his B sample.

Sanchez denied wrongdoing, saying the failed test was a surprise, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Sanchez won the road race on the first day of the Beijing Games in a five-man sprint that also included Swiss Fabian Cancellara, who would win the time trial in 2008 and 2016, and Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck.

Two years later, Sanchez finished fourth in the Tour de France but was upgraded to second behind Schleck due to doping bans for original winner Alberto Contador and third-place Denis Menchov.

Sanchez also took the polka-dot jersey for best climber at the 2011 Tour and finished second and third at the Vuelta in 2009 and 2007, respectively.

Sanchez rode in the 2010 Tour wearing a special helmet honoring his Olympic title. He also got a tattoo behind his right shoulder commemorating the Beijing gold on Aug. 9, 2008.

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Victoria Azarenka may miss U.S. Open due to custody battle

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Olympic and Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka says her participation in the U.S. Open is in doubt because she might not be able to bring her son with her to New York as a result of her separation from the baby’s father.

Azarenka is “faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away,” according to a post on the former top-ranked player’s social media accounts Thursday. “No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”

The 28-year-old from Belarus gave birth to Leo, her first child, in December, then returned to the tour in June.

Azarenka’s post said that shortly after Wimbledon — where Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10 — she separated from her son’s father.

“As we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the U.S. Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media, “which I’m not willing to do.”

The U.S. Open starts Aug. 28.

“I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete,” was posted, “but, more importantly, to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.”

Azarenka was the runner-up in New York in 2012 and 2013, losing in the final each year to Serena Williams.

Those were also the years that Azarenka won her two Grand Slam singles titles in Australia.

Wimbledon was Azarenka’s first major tournament in more than a year. She currently is ranked 204th.

“Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is OK to be a working mother — or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both,” was posted on Azarenka’s social media. “I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.”

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