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WINTER SPORTS ROUNDUP

Giant mistake costs Miller

Italy's Massimiliano Blardone won a World Cup giant slalom yesterday in which Bode Miller squandered his first-run lead by catching his arm on a gate his second time down.

Blardone rallied from a deficit of 0.09 seconds after the first run for his third World Cup victory. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal made another great comeback to finish second, for his best career GS result.

Blardone, runner-up after the first run, completed his two trips down the Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek, Colo., in 2 minutes 27.88 seconds. He won for the first time since taking a giant slalom in Alta Badia nearly a year ago.

Miller, who won Friday's downhill, was up by 0.40 on the top half, but, charging a little hard, he got back on the tails of his skis and caught an arm on a gate, which cost him about a second and a half. He wound up in 12th place, 1.11 seconds off the pace.

"I had no rhythm," said Miller, who was visibly angry. Miller, who banged his knuckles against the gate, was checked over by doctors but no injuries were detected, a team official said.

US teammate Ted Ligety, the Olympic combined champion, climbed from fifth into third, 0.07 seconds behind the winner. Ligety grabbed his broken right hand after crossing the finish line, after hitting it on a gate. Ligety fractured it during training a month ago in Austria, while he was dragging his hand along the snow and struck the base of a gate.

"I hope it doesn't affect me in tomorrow's slalom," he said. "I might get it checked out this afternoon. But it doesn't feel the same as when I broke it. I didn't have the same shooting pain, it was a little duller pain but it still doesn't feel ideal."

Ligety earned the US team its fifth podium of the week. In yesterday's downhill, Steve Nyman took third place. Lindsey Kildow took second and first in back-to-back downhill races in Lake Louise, Canada, Friday and yesterday.

In the women's downhill competition, Kildow rocketed down a course she knows as well as any to win, finishing a whopping 1.33 seconds ahead of Austria's Renate Goetschl.

Kildow captured a downhill for the third time at Lake Louise, covering the Olympic course in 1:48.84. Goetschl followed at 1:50.17 and Sweden's Anja Paerson was third at 1:50.56.

"I didn't honestly expect to do as well," said Kildow. "I was pretty nervous in the start. I knew some of the earlier girls had good runs. I just told myself not to think about it. Just go as fast as you can."

Nordic Combined -- Magnus Moan edged Sebastian Haseney by one-10th of a second in Lillehammer, Norway, for his fifth-career World Cup victory.

Competing on the track where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held, the Norwegian came from behind with a superb cross-country ski race. Moan finished 17th in the ski jump held earlier in the day. Moan's winning time was 38:20.3 in the 15-kilometer freestyle ski race.

Johnny Spillane was the top American, finishing ninth.

Luge -- Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, the two-time defending Olympic champion, needs to win just one more race to tie the career record of 33 World Cup victories after winning his second straight race to start the season in Park City, Utah.

Tony Benshoof of the US was ninth (1:30.887).

Earlier, Silke Kraushaar-Pielach won her second straight women's race to lead a German sweep of the top four places and stretch her nation's World Cup winning streak to 66 races. American Erin Hamlin equaled the best World Cup finish of her career, finishing fifth in 1:27.884. Ski jumping -- Simon Ammann led a 1-2 finish for Switzerland in a World Cup meet in Lillehammer to take the overall lead after two competitions.

Ammann jumped 128.5 and 138 meters for 265.9 points. Andreas Kuttel, who held a narrow lead after the first round, finished second (260.6) and Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was third (258.0).

Snowboarding -- Seth Wescott of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, and Lindsay Jacobellis of Stowe, Vt., won their events at the King of the Mountain World Skiing and Snowboarding Championships in Snowbird, Utah.

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