Rahlves picks up a sixth place in Bormio
Sun News ServiceUnheralded Johann Grugger earned his first win and led an Austrian sweep of the top four places Dec. 29 in a wind-whipped, bumpy downhill on what will be the 2005 World Championships speed course in another month. Daron Rahlves led the U.S. Ski Team with sixth overall, while World Cup leader Bode Miller was 14th with Bryon Friedman was 28th.Grugger, skiing 30th after leading the final training run Tuesday, was timed in 1:55.77 over the 2.9K course, topping teammate Michael Walchhofer by .24. Rahlves, who won in Bormio two years ago, finished in 1:56.95 with Miller timed in 1:57.62 and Friedman, who skied first, 28th in 1:58.57.Austrians have won six of the last seven men’s downhills in Bormio; Rahlves’ victory in December 2002 is the lone blemish.”It’s tough to take a lot of good out of the day but Daron skied well and Bode had a couple of mistakes but, overall, he skied pretty well…,” coach John McBride said. The World Alpine Ski Championships begin Jan. 29 with men’s super G on the same hill. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to build on this race and be ready for whatever we find when we come back,” McBride said. “I’m glad everyone’s off the hill and healthy after these conditions.”The next men’s races are Jan. 8-9 in Chamonix, France – another downhill plus a slalom.Meanwhile, at Chamonix, Bryon Friedman (Park City, UT), who has posted his best World Cup results this season, crashed during official downhill training Wednesday and broke his right leg and left hand, the U.S. Ski Team said.In his second full year of World Cup racing, Friedman, 24, was attended to by U.S. Ski Team Dr. Eric Verploeg of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. Friedman suffered a tib-fib fracture (lower leg) that was repaired during surgery and stabilized with a rod. Two bones also were fractured in his left hand that has been splinted.”Bryon is doing well from surgery and we expect him to have a full recovery,” Roalstad said. Friedman will remain in the hospital for acouple of days before returning home to the United States. He will miss the remainder of the season.