American skiing star Bode Miller got his bid to become the overall World Cup champion off to a good start Sunday, by winning the season-opening men's giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.
Miller said his goal this season is to dethrone Austrian World Cup overall champion Stephan Eberharter. To that end, he twisted his way down the steep and fast Rettenbach course in a two-run combined time of two minutes and 9.58 seconds.
That was a gigantic 1.12 seconds faster than second-placed Frederic Covilli of France. Another Frenchman, Joel Chenal, had a spectacular second run to finish third in (2:10.76).
Eberharter, the Olympic giant slalom champion, was sixth after the opening leg but dropped to eighth after the second run. His fellow-Austrian Hermann Maier sent the home crowd wild when he snaked down the icy course in the 16th best time (1:04.66). "The Herminator" missed almost two seasons after a 2001 motorbike accident that nearly cost him a leg.