Hirscher wins Bansko GS as Ligety falters
Arrrggg. The men's World Cup GS at Bansko, Bulgaria was one Ted Ligety would like to forget. It will also be one Marcel Mathis, a young Austrian, will remember for a long, long time. For Marcel Hirscher the race will tack on to the list of wins this season bringing his total to seven.
Ligety had been the first run leader by a narrow .16 edge over Hirscher. Tom Fanara had given good chase .31 out and Phil Schoerghofer .40. The rest, led by Bennie Raich were more than a second out. That set the stage for Mathis.
The third man out of the second run start he put down a strong, aggressive run to take the lead and quickly step into the leader's box. Just how good the run was only became apparent as the day unfolded. The 20 year old was 16 days out from claiming the Austrian junior GS title and one day past finishing second in a Europa Cup GS in Germany.
No one in the entire field would match his second run time. Italian Massimiliano Blardone did take the two run lead away from the smooth faced youngster, but the tough Bansko course was a grueling test that left many gasping in the finish. The first run leaders would have to work to take the podium away from Blardone and Mathis.
Raich skied out, Schoerghofer could not challenge and the always aggressive Fanara slid to his side, popped to his feet and through a double panel gate and then slid to the side of the course where he worked his way under a sponsor banner.
With his track record this season Hirscher bristles with confidence. He attacked the course and was the only racer since Mathis to increase his first run lead at the first interval. He had a less then perfect run - only seventh best as it turned out - but took the lead by a huge 1.39 margin putting the pressure firmly on Ligety.
High on the course, Ligety layed on his side, fought to collect himself by the next gate, spun out, and knew his day was over. He gamely stepped through the gate and finished, in 27th place, more than seven seconds off the winning time.
It was the seventh win of the season for Hirscher and third in GS giving him the lead in the discipline standings. He sits third overall making up ground on injured leader Ivica Kostelic and Swiss speed skier Beat Feuz.
Hirscher told Austrian reporters he was lucky to have survived a first run mistake. "The snow here is sleek and therefore unpredictable," he said. "...I lost the line. Fortunately I somehow saved." His second run, he said, "was probably one of my best trips."
Mathis had not arrived in Bansko until 2am after racing in Germany the day before. "If you have a chance to start in the Woprld Cup, then you have to use it," he said.
"He has no respect for age," laughed Hirscher, himself only 23.
Tommy Ford led the American finishers with a career best GS placing of 12th. Tim Jitloff tied for 18th.
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Bansko, Bulgaria, Feb. 18, 2012
1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Blardone, Dynastar/Lange/Dynastar
3 Mathis, Head/Head/Head
4 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
5 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/
7 Karlsen, Blizzard/Nordica/
8 Grange, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
8 Schoerghofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Bansko, Bulgaria, Feb. 18, 2012. ... It is the 30th of 44 men's races on the 2012 World Cup schedule. ... the sixth of nine scheduled GS's and the first since Jan. 7. ... It is the sixth Cup race hosted by Bansko the first men's GS.
It is the tenth career World Cup win for Marcel Hirscher. ... his fifth in GS. ... It is his seventh win of the season and third in GS.
It is the 23rd career World Cup podium result for Massimiliano Blardone. ... all in GS. ... It is his third podium of the season all coming in the last three GS's held (1st Alta Badia, 3rd Adelboden).
It is the first career World Cup podium result for Marcel Mathis in three career scoring results all from this season. ... He was 26th at Alta Badia and 25th at Adelboden.
North Americans: It is the second best career World Cup result for Tommy Ford after an 11th in super G at Hinterstoder Feb 5, 2011. ... It is his fifth scoring result of the season and third in GS. ... It is his first score since Dec. 6. ... Tim Jitloff matches his fifth best career result and his third best career GS result. ... It is his fourth score of the season all in GS. ... His second best career finish came at Bansko in combined Feb 26, 2011. ... It is the 35th career World Cup scoring result for Jean-Philippe Roy. ... his fifth score of the season, all in GS. ... It is the 126th scoring result for Ted Ligety.
Standings: Ivica Kostelic (did not race) holds the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1043-973 over Beat Feuz (did not race). ... Hirscher is third at 925. ... Bode Miller (DNQ) is eighth with 612pts and Ligety ninth with 582pts. ... Erik Guay (did not race) is the top Canadian overall in 16th with 397pts. ... Hirscher takes control of the GS standings 465-384 over Ligety. ... Blardone is third with 258pts. ... Roy is top Canadian in 25th with 55pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 4999-3179 for Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 2635. ... The US is fifth with 1670 and Canada seventh with 1231pts.
FIS World Cup
Men's Giant Slalom
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|4||7||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:12.45||1:14.58||2:27.03||10.06|
|7||29||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR||1:13.21||1:14.13||2:27.34||11.91|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|50||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|46||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|26||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR|
|19||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|