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NEWSWIRE

Raich Wins Cup Event After Miller Is Disqualified

January 14, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Bode Miller was disqualified just yards from the finish of a slalom Friday at Wengen, Switzerland, allowing Austria's Benjamin Raich to win a World Cup super-combi event and increase his lead in the overall standings.

Miller, the defending overall champion, was second fastest in the morning's downhill and appeared to have won after the slalom, holding a lead of 1.11 seconds over Raich. But he was disqualified for straddling a gate.

Raich, a technical specialist who was 13th after the downhill run, delivered a stunning slalom leg to win with a combined time of 2 minutes 38.46 seconds. Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway was second in 2:38.65 and Peter Fill of Italy was third in 2:38.78.

The super-combi, a new version of the traditional combined race, adds the times from a shortened downhill in the morning to a slalom leg a few hours later.

Raich leads the standings with 706 points. Michael Walchhofer of Austria is second at 520. Miller, of Franconia, N.H., is tied for third with Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl, Calif., at 489.

Miller was unable to get his disqualification reversed after speaking with World Cup race director Guenther Hujara.

Miller said that although the front part of his right ski hit the flattened gate, his foot and tail never crossed over the pole.

"My ski definitely hit the gate but it [the gate] went down the middle of the ski and my foot was on the right side of it," he said, explaining why he completed his run even though International Ski Federation rules state that skiers must stop a race if they miss a gate to preserve the course.

"The tip of my ski went over it but I didn't hook it completely."

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Anja Paerson of Sweden won a women's World Cup downhill at Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, only her second downhill win among her 29 World Cup titles. She was timed at 1 minute 37.70 seconds. The top four finishers were separated by only .09 of a second.

Michaela Dorfmeister was second in 1:37.74, with Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland another .04 back. Janica Kostelic of Croatia, the overall World Cup leader, missed the podium by .01 of a second in 1:37.79.

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In another blow to the U.S. skeleton program, the women's World Cup team had only one top-10 finisher in a race at Koenigssee, Germany, meaning it will have only one sled entered in the Turin Olympics.

Noelle Pikus-Pace, the defending overall World Cup champion, finished fifth, but that wasn't enough to vault the Americans into the top three spots in the team standings.

Only the top three women's teams -- Canada, Germany and Switzerland -- are being awarded two Olympic start positions.

Barring something unforeseen, only Katie Uhlaender will represent the U.S. in Turin. She has the most World Cup points of any American this season.

TENNIS

Henin-Hardenne Wins Medibank International

Fifth-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne overcame deficits in the last two sets to rally for a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over seventh-seeded Francesca Schiavone to win the Medibank International at Sydney, Australia.

Eighth-seeded James Blake won his fourth career ATP Tour title, beating Igor Andreev, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3), today in the men's final. Blake advanced by upsetting second-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, 6-4, 6-2. Andreev beat Andreas Seppi, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

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Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's top-ranked men's doubles team, have committed to play in the Countrywide Classic, starting July 24 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA.

BASEBALL

Webb, Diamondbacks Agree to Four-Year Deal

Brandon Webb and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $19.5 million with a club option for 2010.

The 26-year-old right-hander set a career high with 14 wins last season, his third in the major leagues. He finished 14-12 with a 3.54 earned-run average and 172 strikeouts in 229 innings.

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The Dodgers have extended the contract of Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin through 2011. Jarrin has been with the Dodgers for 47 years and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Jarrin said he received a substantial pay increase.

BOWLING

Bohn Is the Leader at Dick Weber Open

Parker Bohn III, a Professional Bowlers Assn. Hall of Famer, continued to lead the PBA Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley. He had a 7,719, 31-game pinfall after the second of three match-play sessions. Mike Machuga was second at 7,623 and Jason Couch third at 7,602. Norm Duke, a 22-time PBA Tour title winner, was fourth at 7,522.

MISCELLANY

Corrales-Castillo Title Bout Is Postponed

The World Boxing Council lightweight championship bout between champion Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo in El Paso on Feb. 4 was postponed because of a rib injury suffered by Corrales during training this week.

Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., promoting the bout with Gary Shaw Productions, said Castillo would still fight on the scheduled date at the Don Haskins Center against an opponent to be determined early next week.

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As expected, Mike Mularkey officially resigned as coach of the Buffalo Bills. What wasn't expected was who refused to rule himself out as a candidate for the job -- Marv Levy.

A week after taking over as the Bills' general manager, and despite owner Ralph Wilson's insisting that Levy wouldn't be considered to replace Mularkey, the 80-year-old Hall of Fame coach declined to say whether he was interested in filling the position.

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Monster Jam truck racing and car crushing are scheduled at Angel Stadium tonight with a capacity crowd expected to be on hand to watch favorites including Grave Digger, Maximum Destruction, Blue Thunder and El Toro Loco.

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