American Bode Miller has fastest downhill training time at Lake Louise

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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LAKE LOUISE, Alta American Bode Miller, the defending overall champion, had the fastest time in Wednesdays opening day of training for this weekends first World Cup downhill race of the season.

John Kucera of Calgary was the top Canadian, placing 15th.

Miller, of Franconia, N.H., stood up at the bottom of the course but still was clocked in one minute 47.22 seconds over the three-kilometre Mens Olympic Downhill Run. He quickly left the finish area afterwards without speaking to reporters.

Miller, who won a downhill here in 2005, was chased by a pair of Austrians. Klaus Kroell was second in 1:47.30 while Michael Walchhofer, who won the Lake Louise downhill in 2004 and was third in 2005, was third in 1:47.40.

Kucera, who won a super-giant slalom race here in 2006, was pleased with his time of 1:48.06.

As far as the first training run for me its looking not too bad, he said. Usually Im quite a way out. There are good things to build on for the weekend.

There are lots of places where I think I can find some time. There were a lot of sections where I wasnt so clean. There are some places for improvements.

The downhill race will be held Saturday with the opening super-giant slalom of the season Sunday.

Two other Canadian veterans werent as satisfied. Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., who finished second in a downhill here in 2003, was 20th in 1:48.58 while Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver was disqualified for missing a gate.

Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Que., was 23rd in 1:48.68.

Prior to learning of his disqualification Osborne-Paradis shrugged off his time of 1:48.71 as first race jitters but Guay seemed less subdued.

Im not right in the game like I should be or like I would like to be, he said. You have to find out what happened, what didnt work on the run and work out the kinks.

Guay did not have a podium finish last season. Hes looking to return to the form that saw him record five top-three finishes, including a downhill victory, during the 2006-07 season.

Im not the fastest on the team but Im not the slowest either, he said. Theres a lot of work to do on both sides. Its back to the drawing board tonight.

Among other Canadians, Robbie Dixon of North Vancouver was 31st in 1:49.10; Louis-Pierre Helie of Berthierville, Que, 41st in 1:49.86; Jeffrey Frisch of Mont-Tremblant, 71st in 1:51.04; and Paul Stutz of Banff, Alta., 79th in 1:52.07.

Geographic location: Lake Louise, Calgary, Franconia Mont-Tremblant North Vancouver New Richmond Berthierville, Que Banff

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