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Chamonix, France • Klaus Kroell gave Austria its first World Cup downhill victory of the season Friday, edging Bode Miller by 0.01 seconds in a race so tight the top five skiers were separated by only 0.08 seconds.
Miller was faster than Kroell at every split, but the American lost time on the bottom section and finished an eye blink behind Kroell, who won in 2 minutes, 4.22 seconds.
After Miller crossed the line, he spun quickly to check the big screen to see how he did. He held his head in his hands in disbelief and stood still for a few seconds.
"It's tough. ... There's so many places where a hundredth can come or go," Miller said. "I didn't really have a great reach for the finish line, which I always try to do well. That's the worst place to lose it, right out of the start or right at the finish line, and today I kind of left a little bit out there."
This was Kroell's fourth World Cup victory and his first since he won the downhill at Wengen, Switzerland, in January last year.
"Having waited so long it's a great joy, and a great relief. A great weight has been lifted from me," Kroell said through a translator. "It was a very difficult race for me because I made a mistake right at the start, and then on a turn. So it was a bad start."
Under overcast skies and with light snow falling on the La Verte des Houches course, 37-year-old Didier Cuche of Switzerland finished third in his bid for a third straight downhill victory. He was 0.03 seconds behind Miller in 2:04.26. Romed Baumann of Austria and Erik Guay of Canada shared fourth place.
"Because everyone's so close together with the ability, and the courses seem to be easier they're slower there's less things that separate the field," Miller said. "A lot of these races are unbelievable close. That's a challenge in itself to really make sure that you stay focused and pay attention to the things that matter."