VAL GARDENA, Italy — Peter Mueller of Switzerland won the first downhill race of the men's World Cup ski season Friday and spoiled Canadian Rob Boyd's hopes of winning for an unprecedented third consecutive year.
Mueller, in scoring his 24th World Cup victory, had a time of 2 minutes 51 seconds.
Armin Assinger of Austria was second and Boyd third.
Boyd scored his only 2 World Cup victories--both downhills--here in 1986 and 1987.
Boyd said he had hoped to win for his parents, who were watching.
"It was the first time they watched a World Cup race in Europe," said Boyd, of Whistler Mountain, Canada. "I hope to do better tomorrow (today) because the same skier seldom wins a double race. For sure, this is my lucky track."
Olympic downhill champion Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland, who was fourth, strengthened his overall lead with a total of 62 points in 4 races.
Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg withdrew before the race because he was unhappy with the drawing of starting numbers. He remained in second place in the standings with 35 points.
His father, Helmut, who also is the coach, manager and captain of the 2-man Luxembourg team, said the international jury had discriminated against his son.
Girardelli drew the No. 1 start, and early starters had severe problems with the course.
Mueller, who started No. 14, said: "This course always benefits late starters because the track becomes faster, and visibility improves, after a while."
He added: "I skied perfectly from the first to the last meter."
Zurbriggen said he was satisfied with his performance "because I had been lagging behind in practice runs and I am not yet in my top downhill form."
Canadians, who have a strong tradition in downhill races, placed 3 among the top 18. Jeff Olson of Bozeman, Mont., was the first American finisher, in 45th place.