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.
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)