ALTA BADIA, Italy (AP) – Kalle Palander worked up to 10 hours daily for 40 days during the summer to rehab his surgically repaired left knee. Bode Miller still nearly beat him in his sleep.

Palander won a giant slalom Sunday for his 13th World Cup victory and first since tearing knee ligaments in March at the World Cup finals. Miller, who keeps waking up at night and is irritable the next day, was right behind the Finn after a charge in the second run.

Palander also led after the first run and covered the steep and narrow Gran Risa course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 28.82 seconds. Miller moved up from seventh place to finish 0.51 seconds behind. Didier Defago of Switzerland was third, 0.59 back, his first top-three finish in the event.

Miller again complained about a new U.S. team rule that he says has affected his sleeping pattern. The rule requires that he stay in the team hotel, as opposed to his personal motor home.

“It’s completely counterproductive for me,” Miller said. “I need that rest to maintain that level of training and condition.”

Miller said he’s received “reprimands” from his team for being outspoken about the issue.

“I’ll live by the rules, but I’m not going to censor myself with what I say about it,” he said. “The amount of flexibility they’ve shown in the past is gone. It’s no longer there for whatever reason. Hopefully I can last another month or two before I totally detonate.”

The U.S. team isn’t budging.

“I’m confident we’re doing the right thing and we’re going to stay the course,” coach Phil McNichol told The Associated Press. “Bode’s skiing well and it’s working for him.

“My focus is not on getting the guys angry, it’s not on nonathletic issues. It’s a big job focusing on coaching the guys. We’ve done what we feel is best.”

This was Miller’s second top-three finish in three days – he won a super-giant slalom in Val Gardena on Friday.

“You don’t see him tired in the finish area,” McNichol said. “He’s clearly fitter.”

Miller said he sleeps well – when he does sleep.

“I go to bed at 10:30-11 and I wake up every night at 2-2:15 for 45 minutes, then again at 4:45 or 5,” Miller said. “I started a book at 4:45 a.m. this morning and by the time my alarm went off I was at page 160. It’s terrible. I’ve been in a terrible mood every day.”

With Steve Nyman’s victory in Saturday’s downhill, the U.S. team has three podium finishes in three days, and Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety will be a threat in Monday’s slalom on the Gran Risa.

Ligety also made up ground in the GS, moving up from 19th after the first run to finish seventh.

“I was truly inspired by what the guys did in (Gardena) and the second run today,” McNichol said.

“Ted will be strong tomorrow and Bode’s slalom is improving, too.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.