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Winter sports roundup

Miller wins some breathing room

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Associated Press / March 2, 2008

Bode Miller skied a near-flawless run yesterday to win a World Cup downhill by 0.40 seconds over Didier Cuche in Kvitfjell, Norway.

With his sixth victory of the season, Miller, of Bretton Woods, N.H., increased his lead in the overall standings over his Swiss competitor to 165 points.

Miller has 1,283 points with seven races left, although five will be March 12-16 at the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy.

Benjamin Raich stayed at 1,058 points and dropped to third. The Austrian skied out and finished out of the points for the second straight day. Each win is worth 100 points.

"We have to wait and see. There are seven races left - that's a lot of points. You can never count Benny out in the overall," said Miller, who in 2005 became the first American since Phil Mahre in 1983 to win the men's overall title.

"When I get on the course, the last thing I'm thinking about is the overall. I just push it. If I push it too hard, I can easily make mistakes and go out. If you go out . . . no points."

In the downhill standings, now only 5 points separate Cuche and Miller, with one race remaining.

"The downhill title race is exactly how I'd love to have it," Miller said. "It comes down to the last race and Didier has been so strong all year, and he showed today that with no mistakes, he's right there. Bormio is going to be a challenge."

Miller went down the Olympic course in 1 minute 46.16 seconds to capture his third downhill victory of the season.

Cuche, the defending World Cup downhill champion, was a distant runner-up. Werner Heel of Italy, who won Friday's downhill, finished third.

Freestyle - Steve Omischl of Canada won the World Cup aerials title in Moscow while Emily Cook of Belmont captured her first World Cup event.

Cook totaled 160.41 points, defeating Deidra Dionne of Canada and Zhang Xin of China.

"It's really rewarding to go out and perform your best and be on the top of the podium," said Cook. "I was shocked . . . I was at the bottom and had no idea I had won."

Snowboard - Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.) gave the United States a first-place sweep in the US Snowboarding Cup snowboard cross event at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y. The event also served as this season's US National Championship.

"Today, getting a good start was very important because the course was too narrow up top to pass," Jacobellis said.

Cross-country - Andy Newell of Shaftsbury, Vt., lost out to Norway's Anders Gloersen by 0.4 seconds in the 1.4K freestyle sprint at a World Cup event in Lahti, Finland.

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