Travis Ganong 18th in Alpine Worlds super G |

Travis Ganong 18th in Alpine Worlds super G

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany and#8212; The menand#8217;s super G of the FIS World Ski Championships at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on Wednesday was not just a gorgeous test, it was an exam.

Christof Innerhofer graduated, rising to the challenge to record the second ever super G championships for an Italian male.

In collecting his first career super G victory, Innerhofer pushed Austrian Hannes Reichelt into second while the incredible Ivica Kostelic continued what is surely a career season with the bronze.

Bode Miller, definitely gunning for the championship, produced his usual exciting performance, racing to 12th after losing a pole. He was trailed by Americans Tommy Ford in 14th and Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley in 18th.

If there was a true star and#8212; or perhaps villain and#8212; on the day it was the gnarly track itself.

Under a clear sky, the tough but fair course drops through the Bavarian forest, presenting a hard but scratchable surface. It took until the eighth skier of the morning, Austrian Romed Baumann, before anyone had truly skied the course. As the core of the first seed rolled through the start order, it became evident the man who could conquer the Kandahar would be a true champion.

Miller, running 11th, appeared he might be that man. With a lead he caught his arm on a gate and had his ski pole ripped from his grip. It wasnand#8217;t so much a mistake as a misfortune. The gate had caused grief to most of the 10 racing in front of him and would continue to pester the field.

Miller was on a high enough line and though his momentum was sucked away by the drag of his pole, he continued to put up good splits. His second mistake, above the finish, was much more costly. Without hope of the win in a race where fourth place matters not a wit, he stood and coasted to the finish.

and#8220;Once I made that mistake, I could have tucked to the finish, but my speed was already gone,and#8221; Miller said. and#8220;It was challenging, but I think it was what this course really should be. If it was smooth and soft it would have been really basic. You see a guy like Innerhofer ski that way he deserves to win it. I was impressed with the way he skied.and#8221;

Reichelt, skiing right after Miller, produced the first complete run of the day for a huge .88 lead over Baumann. But Innerhofer, who has produced half of his top six World Cup placings this season, was clean and on line in his run as well as six tenths of a second faster than the Austrian.

and#8220;I really liked the course, actually,and#8221; said Innerhofer who dedicated the victory to a large group from his fan club present. and#8220;I felt great, felt strong. I promised myself I would not take fourth again. I tried to be as aggressive as I could. Itand#8217;s better to let the skis run and not think about it too much.and#8221;

Kostelic, a slalom winner on the World Cup since 2001 and the World slalom champ in 2003, has a new found artistry in the speed disciplines, something he illustrated in certain fashion by winning the Kitzbuehel super G just weeks ago. Solid on his skis as usual he kept pace with the two leaders, gave away nothing and wound up on the podium, a placing 10 better than anything even his World Champion sister Janica ever put up in a World Championship super G, (She did win silver in the discipline twice in Olympic competition).

The defending champion Didier Cuche skied well but dropped back steadily from the leaders to finish fourth, more than a second off the winning pace.

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