Bode Miller posted his best finish in three downhill races this season Saturday, his comeback campaign from major knee surgery.
Miller, 36, was fifth in Val Gardena, Italy, coming in behind a podium of three more skiers who recorded their best results in months or years.
“I’ve been skiing well,” Miller said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “The fact is we just don’t have the whole thing together right now. We’re close, and we’re getting there.”
Canadian Erik Guay won in 1 minute, 56.65 seconds. The 2011 world downhill champion won a World Cup race for the first time since March 11, 2010.
Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud was second, .12 behind, his best World Cup finish since March 4, 2012. The Olympic silver medalist tore an ACL at the World Championships in February.
Frenchman Johan Clarey was third, matching his best World Cup result from Dec. 19, 2009. World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fourth.
Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist, continued to improve a day after taking eighth in a super-G. His best finish this season was second in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 8, but Miller is thought to be a better Sochi medal threat in speed events downhill and super-G.
Miller underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Feb. 20, 2012, and missed all of the 2012-13 season.
“I skied pretty well, but it’s one of those courses where there’s not enough to it to bring it back in with my technical ability,” Miller said.
The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. American world and World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety is the favorite.
Val Gardena Downhill
1. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:56.65
2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 1:56.77
3. Johan Clarey (FRA) 1:56.89
4. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:56.94
5. Bode Miller (USA) 1:57.04
6. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 1:57.28
7. Manny Osborne-Paradis (CAN) 1:57.45
8. Werner Heel (ITA) 1:57.51
9. Jan Hudec (CAN) 1:57.55
10. Peter Fill (ITA) 1:57.57
13. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:57.79
16. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:58.08
19. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:58.41
38. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:59.67
40. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:59.84
48. Nick Daniels (USA) 2:00.50
DNF. Steven Nyman (USA)
Lindsey Vonn fails to finish Val d’Isere downhill