American Bode Miller failed to win a downhill for the first time this season, finishing fourth yesterday in a World Cup race captured by Austria's Werner...

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VAL D’ISERE, France — American Bode Miller failed to win a downhill for the first time this season, finishing fourth yesterday in a World Cup race captured by Austria’s Werner Franz.

Franz recorded his first World Cup downhill victory after 98 starts, charging down the Oreiller-Killy course in 1 minute, 57.51 seconds.

“Today is like Easter, Christmas and my birthday all wrapped into one,” the 32-year old Franz said. “It was worth the wait.”

Franz was 0.27 seconds ahead of Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein, with Michael Walchhofer of Austria third in 1:58.06.

Miller was fourth in 1:58.09. The Franconia, N.H., skier won the first two World Cup downhills this season. Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl, Calif., tied for seventh in 1:58.27. Scott Macartney of Redmond placed 46th in 2:00.92.

“I’m totally happy,” Miller said. “I skied really well, especially the whole top of the course. I skied about as well as I thought I was going to. I skied a pretty aggressive, tough line. Aerodynamics were great. I was really good off the jumps.”

After eight races, Miller leads the overall standings with 530 points. Walchhofer is second with 284.

“I don’t know if it was the wind or what, but all the times were slower for the later skiers,” Miller said. “Sometimes on a day like today you’ll win and sometimes you’ll be fourth.”

Meissnitzer takes women’s Super-G

ZAUCHENSEE, Austria — Alexandra Meissnitzer won for the first time in her home country, taking a World Cup super-giant slalom in which American women were fourth and fifth.

Meissnitzer was timed in 1 minute, 13.04 seconds, giving Austria a second straight win in the discipline. Italy’s Lucia Recchia was second in 1:13.32.

Caroline Lalive of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was fourth, one place ahead of Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, Calif. Lindsey Kildow of Vail, Colo., tied for 13th.

Libby Ludlow of Bellevue placed 15th.

Meissnitzer recorded her 13th World Cup victory. She was the 1998 world champion in the Super-G and giant slalom.


• Germany’s Axel Teichmann, the cross-country World Cup leader, won a 30-kilometer double-pursuit event in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Norway’s Marit Bjorgen, the women’s World Cup leader, took the 15-kilometer race.

• Five-time Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjorndalen won before his home fans in Oslo, Norway, while Russia’s Olga Zaitseva captured a women’s biathlon event for her first victory of the season.

It was Bjorndalen’s 45th World Cup biathlon victory.

“I think this was the best race I’ve ever had,” he said. “It was perfect from start to finish.”

• Finland’s Janne Ahonen was finally beaten in a World Cup ski jump this season, finishing second to Poland’s Adam Malysz in Harrachov, Czech Republic.

Ahonen won the first four meets.

Clint Jones of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was 27th.

• The Swiss team of Martin Annen and Beat Hefti won a two-man World Cup bobsled race in Igls, Austria, in which the United States finished fifth.

Annen and Hefti had the fastest time in both runs, finishing in 1 minute, 44.16 seconds to beat Canada’s Pierre Lueders and Lascelles Brown by 0.31 seconds. “We had two nearly faultless runs, but our great starting times really made the difference,” Annen said.

The U.S. team of Todd Hays and Pavle Jovanovic was fifth in 1:44.90.

Wang Manli of China won her third 500-meter long-track speedskating race in eight days, and Beorn Nijenhuis of the Netherlands scored his first World Cup victory of the season to extend his lead in the 1,000-meter standings.

Wang was timed in 38.73 seconds to beat Belarus’ Anzhelika Kotyuga by 0.12 seconds in Harbin, China.

Wang, who won twice last weekend in Nagano, Japan, increased her season point total to 300, 90 more than Japan’s Sayurai Osuga.