A few thoughts, some of them pretty minor:
- Isn't Rahlves ranked first in DH (as Eberharter has retired)? He's still second in SG: Maier won that small globe last year.
- If Miller is beating Rahlves in speed events by any margin, much less over a second, that would be stunning. I wouldn't be surprised if the switch to Atomics made a huge difference to Miller in the speed events, especially since Eberharter is out. While he's certainly not Austrian, he seems to have hit some sort of public nerve over there. Atomic may see him as "the future." That's a big deal.
- As far as challengers to Miller, I don't think I'd be too quick to discount anyone based on their Soelden results. From what I can tell (all pretty second or third hand, obviously), it's somewhat of a bizarre race: run up on a glacier with terrible, rough snow. See the story (originally from last year, but they've repeated it) in Ski Racing in which Miller describes his Soelden technique: skid every turn on one side to scrub speed and stay in the course (okay, maybe his tongue was partially in his cheeck, but still). Raich may or may not turn out to be a big challenger, but you can't write him off on the basis of one race. Aamodt and Kjus cannot be taken lightly. Maier ... he won last year, didn't he? And, of course, there may be someone who we've never heard of (or heard much of) who has a breakout year.
- But: while it's not a foregone conclusion by any means, the stars seem to be aligning for Miller.