Super combined starts early, should suit Miller

Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:08am EST
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By Martyn Herman

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Reigning men's super combined champion Bode Miller got his wish on Thursday when the start time for Friday's race was brought forward an hour because of expected warm weather conditions.

The American feared a soft downhill course would seriously undermine his chances of successfully defending the title he won in Vancouver four years ago, as it did in Sunday's downhill.

Olympic organizers have moved the start time forward from 11am local time (0700 GMT) to 10am to take advantage of any early-morning frost on the Rosa Khutor piste which has already taken a pounding from training runs and races.

The slalom leg of the race, when the medals will be decided, will start at 3.30pm.

Race referee Gunter Hujara said the decision had been made on safety grounds.

"It's not easy in an Olympic schedule to move forward a start," he said at the team captains' meeting where the draw for Friday's race was made.

"We went through all the channels and we really appreciate the answer from all the people involved. In the end, it's a safety issue."

Spring-like temperatures, that reached nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the valley on Thursday, mean the snow on the slopes is having to be stabilized using ice.   Continued...

Bode Miller of the U.S. starts his downhill run of the men's alpine skiing super combined training session at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich