Bode Miller nearly posted three podium finishes at Alpine skiing’s most hallowed venue in two days, but he’ll leave Kitzbuehel, Austria, with bittersweet results.
The five-time Olympic medalist finished third in the Hahnenkamm downhill on Saturday and second in a super-G on Sunday morning before provisionally placing third in a super combined later Sunday.
He was later disqualified out of the super combined for straddling a gate in the slalom portion.
“I was OK today,” Miller said after the super-G, which he lost to Swiss Didier Defago by .05 of a second. “It was obviously disappointing not to win; five hundredths is not very much time. Just give me a break and let me win one time here.”
Miller has won in Kitzbuehel before — combined races in 2004 and 2008 — but he knows the clock on his career is ticking and who knows if he’ll race in the Austrian frenzy again. Some 50,000 fans were at Saturday’s downhill.
In the slalom Sunday night, Miller was the top skier to go out of the top 30 from the super-G. Defago dropped out of the slalom because he is a speed race specialist.
So, Miller was in position for his first World Cup win since Dec. 2, 2011. Had he won, he would have jumped from ninth in the World Cup standings to fourth in a span of two days. He would have also passed teammate Ted Ligety.
Remember, Ligety was the most successful skier at last year’s World Championships, winning three gold medals. Miller is 36 years old and coming off knee surgery that caused him to miss all of last season.
It was not to be, though. Ligety took second in the super combined after finishing 31st in the super-G. France’s Alexis Pinturault won the super combined.
“My slalom run was OK, it was sure better than in the classic slalom race [on Friday],” Ligety said. “Alexis is a great slalom skier, so it’s not too bad to be after him. The crowd is great, there are not many places where you can attract a crowd like this one on a Sunday night.”
Miller is set to be named to a fifth Olympic Team later Sunday and is looking like a Sochi medal threat in as many as four events.
Earlier, Miller took second in a super-G behind Defago, who is 10 days older than Miller. The 2010 Olympic downhill champion Defago won his first World Cup race since Dec. 29, 2011.
The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday.
Kitzbuehel Super Combined
1. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:02.79
2. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:03.23
3. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:04.26
4. Thomas Mermillod Blondin (FRA) 2:04.49
5. Mauro Caviezel (SUI) 2:04.58
6. Peter Fill (ITA) 2:04.64
7. Sandro Viletta (SUI) 2:04.80
8. Carlo Janka (SUI) 2:04.99
9. Justin Murisier (SUI) 2:05.34
10. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 2:05.42
11. Jared Goldberg (USA) 2:05.43
13. Tim Jitloff (USA) 2:06.12
27. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 2:07.65
30. Steven Nyman (USA) 2:08.22
37. Bryce Bennett (USA) 2:10.03
DNF. Mark Engel (USA)
DNF. Travis Ganong (USA)
DQ. Bode Miller (USA)
1. Didier Defago (SUI) 1:10.38
2. Bode Miller (USA) 1:10.43
3. Max Franz (AUT) 1:10.53
5. Johan Clarey (FRA) 1:10.57
6. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:10.68
6. Otmar Striedinger (AUT) 1:10.68
8. Carlo Janka (SUI) 1:10.73
9. Adrien Theaux (FRA) 1:10.74
10. Markus Duerager (AUT) 1:10.79
22. Steven Nyman (USA) 1:11.18
23. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:11.22
31. Ted Ligety (USA) 1:11.32
32. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:11.33
44. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:11.57
50. Tim Jitloff (USA) 1:11.76
54. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:11.83
71. Mark Engel (USA) 1:12.92
77. Bryce Bennett (USA) 1:13.29