Bode Miller continued to improve his speed skiing in the run up to Sochi with fifth in the Saslong Classic downhill (Getty Images/AFP - Olivier Morin)
VAL GARDENA, Italy (Dec. 21) - Five-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) continued to build speed on the Road to Sochi with fifth Saturday in the 46th Saslong Classic downhill in Val Gardena, Italy. After falling behind in the upper gliding portion of the course, Miller found the gas pedal through the turny, rolling lower half to nearly make up a full second of time before running out of space to finish .15 off the podium. It was a solid day for North America, as Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID) finished 13th, Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) 16th and Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) 19th behind race winner Erik Guay of Canada. Universal Sports Network will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. ET.
Olympic champion Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), racing after a short course hold, finished fifth, .15 off the podium Saturday in the 46th Saslong Classic downhill in Val Gardena, Italy.
It was Miller's best speed finish of the season as he continues to gain strengh for the Olympic Winter Games after missing all of the 2013 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season.
Americans flooded the top 20 with Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID) skiing to 13th from bib 37, Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) 16th and Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) in 19th.
The North American success in Val Gardena continued as Canadian Erik Guay won the race for the second World Cup victory of his career.
North Americans have won the Saslong Classic three of the last four years with Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) as the 2013 champion.
Nyman had a solid run going before being knocked back on his skis over a roll. He made an incredible recovery to avoid what could have been a dangerous high-speed crash.
Universal Sports Network will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. ET.
The men's tour now moves over the famed Passo Gardena to Alta Badia for a giant slalom featuring defending champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT).
QUOTES Bode Miller On the top I didn't feel like I was going fast. I took a little bit of risk in some parts and pulled off some decent turns. 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.
This cloud came in [during a course hold due to a crash from the racer ahead of Miller] and it just gets a little overcast and that's it. The snow slows down and you can't see anything. It makes a huge difference.
I've been skiing well. Any section of any course where it's technical and I'm able to do my thing I'm pulling back time on everybody pretty much. There's not a whole lot more we can do. I have Chris Krause, I think he's the best technician in the business. I know he's working hard. There's so many details, you never know what it is that's really causing the problem. The fact is we just don't have the whole thing together right now. We're close, and we're getting there.
Sasha Rearick, men's alpine Head Coach Bode’s skiing on the Ciaslot section was amazing, absolutely amazing. He’s coming along. I think we figured some things out with the gliding to get him in closer. When he ran there was flat light that came in about 10 seconds before he went out of the gate. So I don’t think he had the most luck on the top with light, but we’re making steps and we’re getting closer.
Marco did a hell of job. He was fast all the way through the Ciaslot and he hadn’t been skiing it well all week. It’s always been a difficult section for him over the years, but he muscled his leg through there today.
I was extremely stoked with Fisher today. He milked every ounce of speed the course had at that time when he ran, top to bottom. I’m really happy with the effort Fish put in this week and on race day during both races. Travis expeted more from today, but I think we'll see the skiing he's capable of in Bormio.