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Phil Mahre says Bode Miller is unlikely to win the overall World Cup

Phil Mahre says Bode Miller is unlikely to win the overall World Cup{mosimage}The last American man to win the overall World Cup title, Phil Mahre, predicts that current World Cup standings leader Bode Miller will not be able to end the 22-year drought. Mahre won the title in 1981, 1982 and 1983. He says he and Miller have barely spoken to each other.

“Right now, it’s difficult to see him winning it, as much as you’d like to see it happen,” said Mahre in a phone call. “Right now, it’s probably not even 50-50. He probably has less chance of winning this one than even the last two. His opponent, Benji Raich, is on fire, and Bode is as cold as ice.”

Mahre says Miller does not listen enough to other people, and he crashes too much in slalom, which Mahre says is probably a result of too little training.

“It’s a trophy that not many people get an opportunity to win,” said Mahre, who lives in Yakima, Wash. Mahre says Miller should have won the last two titles already, which went to Stephan Eberharter of Austria.

“He let those get away from him, and this one looks like it’s going to slip away too,” says Mahre. “Here’s a kid that could win six or seven overall titles if he decides to stay in the sport long enough.”

Miller, who is sitting on a 52-point lead, gave interviews to American reporters only in a hotel on Tuesday evening. He was asked what he thought of World Cup racing in Mahre’s day (the late 1970s and early 1980s).

“It was more of an athletic feat rather than a combination of equipment and risk management,” said Miller. “It was quick feet. It was balance and agility. It’s still a lot of that now, but a lot ties in with equipment.”

But Miller says that it was easier in those days too. “It was a much more user-friendly World Cup circuit back then,” said Miller. “Speeds were much, much slower…There were bigger margins for error back then…There were many more combineds, which is the ideal event for me.”

Because of fog, snow and wind at Lenzerheide, which is just southeast of Zurich, the men have still not had a training run this week. The training run is now packed into a tight racing schedule.

Benni Raich, the Austrian all-rounder who is second in the rankings, says Miller has the best chance of anyone of winning the big crystal globe. “Bode is the favorite, that is the truth,” says Raich. “Not like when Bode says ‘Benni is the favorite.’ That is a game.”

What do you think?

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