Out of fashion: Miller disqualified in downhill training run

Friday, December 10th 2004, 12:42 pm
By: News On 6

VAL D'ISERE, France (AP) _ Bode Miller was disqualified Friday for wearing a giant slalom suit instead of downhill gear while finishing fifth in a World Cup training run.

Miller, winner of both downhill races this season and the World Cup overall leader, left the course by the time the disqualification was announced. The move has no bearing on his participation in Saturday's race.

Giant slalom suits are fitted with plastic padding to protect skiers when they hit gates in the technical disciplines. The padding makes them more aerodynamic and faster than the more porous downhill outfits.

``He wore the GS suit instead of the downhill suit because he hits the gates hard and because it's warmer,'' U.S. men's coach Phil McNichol said. ``And he knew today's training had no bearing on the start numbers. He'll be wearing the right suit for the race.''

Miller cruised down the course and slowed before the finish. Thursday's training was called off because of rain.

``Since there is just one training run it's important to get a good feel for the course ahead of the race tomorrow,'' Miller said. ``There are a few significant changes and in my opinion for the better.''

Hermann Maier was fastest in 1 minute, 58.90 seconds on a course where he won four years ago. The Austrian was racing on the redesigned Oreiller-Killy course for the first time since his career nearly ended 3 1/2 years ago in a motorcycle crash.

Switzerland's Didier Cuche was second, 0.02 seconds behind, and Austria's Werner Franz was third. American Daron Rahlves, second in the downhill standings behind Miller, was 14th.

U.S. speed specialist Bryon Friedman will not race this weekend. He is hospitalized with an infected cut on his right shin, and he said he is unsure if he will compete in Val Gardena next week. He was hurt in a fall two weeks ago during training in Lake Louise, Alberta.