Hirscher sweeps Bansko, Kasper 6th, Ligety 7th
Marcel Hirscher collected his eighth win of the World Cup season and his second weekend sweep of the year by adding today's (Feb 19) Bansko slalom, as well as Saturday's GS, to his growing list of wins.
The first run leader held off the field with seeming ease posting a margin of more than half a second over Sweden's Andre Myhrer. Italy's Stefano Gross came third nearly a second off the pace.
The US got fabulous second run efforts from both Nolan Kasper and Ted Ligety, Kasper moving up from 23rd in the first heat to finish sixth and Ligety from 17th to seventh. Kasper had the second fastest run of the afternoon.
The double win moved Hirscher within 20 points of injured and absent World Cup overall leader Ivica Kostelic. The Croate holds the lead 1043-1025 over Hirscher. The next five men on the overall list are primarily speed skiers and did not pick up a point. Kostelic's lead of the slalom standings also shrank dramatically. He leads Hirscher 596-560 while Myhrer sits third at 444 with two races remaining to contest.
The dramatics of the race were fueled by the late disqualification of Mario Matt. He appeared to have given the Austrians a one-two finish, but post race review of television resulted in a FIS DQ. Third place finishing Stefano Gross had to be intercepted as he skied to his hotel and returned to the medal ceremonies via snowmobile.
Germany's Felix Neureuther, third in the first run, was a DNF. The top 10 after the first run had been within 1.2 seconds of Hirscher. At the end of a second run, just the podium finishers were within that time.
When Hirscher started Matt was well in the lead. "I just thought, 'The old man seven tenths ahead, I have to step on the gas'," Hirscher said.
With two super G's on the horizon at Crans Montana (one a make up from Kitzbuehel) Hirscher has been training some super G, but he told reporters he was uncertain if he would take to the super G hill in an effort to take the overall crown.
"I don't know, at the moment I'm pretty tired. But we will see. I don't know if I'll race super G or not. It really doesn't matter to me."
What does matter to him are the discipline titles is GS and slalom. "Slalom is so close I can grab and feel it, but there are many races left to go this season."
US gate coach Mike Day was pleased with the second run efforts of both Kasper and Ligety. "They did a nice job on the second run," he said. "Seeing both those guys in the top 10 is exciting."
He said Ligety has gotten a grasp on the slalom discipline. "I think Kitzbuehel was a serious eye opener for him in regard to how hard he has to push to be competitive. I think he was angry with that performance and now has turned it around."
Day said, "Kasper's first run definitely wasn't his best skiing. His second run wasn't either but it was substantially better than the first." He said the result marks an up part of this season's cycle for Kasper after returning from off-season hip surgery.
Gepa photos of Hirscher and Kasper
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup slalom, Bansko, Bulgaria, Feb. 19, 2012
1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Myhrer, Nordica/Nordica/
3 Gross, Volkl/Tecnica/Marker
4 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/
5 Yuasa, Hart/Dolomite/Look
6 Kasper, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
7 Hargin, Nordica/Nordica/
9 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Razzoli, Nordica/Nordica/
Men's World Cup slalom, Bansko, Bulgaria, Feb 19, 2012. ... It is the 31st race of the men's 44 race 2012 World Cup schedule. ... It is the ninths of 11 slaloms and the first since Schladming Jan. 24. ... It is the seventh World Cup hosted by Bansko. ... The second slalom. ... Bansko first hosted the World Cup in 2009.
It is the 11th World Cup career win for Marcel Hirscher. ... his sixth in slalom. ... It is his eighth win of the season and fifth in slalom. ... He has not lost a completed race since he finished fifth in the Alta Badia GS Dec. 18.
It is the 11th career World Cup podium placing for Andre Myhrer, all in slalom. ... It is his third podium of the season, all second place finishes. ... Twice he has finished second to Ivica Kostelic this season.
It is the third career World Cup podium placing for Stefano Gross. ... all in slalom. ... and all this season.
North Americans: It is the third best career World Cup finish for Nolan Kasper and second best of the season after a fourth scored at Beaver Creek Dec. 8. ... It is his sixth score of the season all coming in slalom. ... It is the 79th career World Cup top 10 for Ted Ligety. ... his 23rd in slalom. ... His finish in one placing off his season best for slalom, a sixth scored at Schladming Jan. 24. ... It is the fourth time Brad Spence has finished 17th in a World Cup slalom, and third time this season. ... That is his ninth best career finish and third best of the season. ... It is the 31st career World Cup scoring result for Jimm Cochran.
Standings: Ivica Kostelic (did not race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1043-1025 over Hirscher. ... Beat Feuz (did not race) is third overall with 973pts. ... Ligety is eighth overall with 618pts and Bode Miller (did not race) is ninth with 612pts. ... Erik Guay (did not race) leads the Canadians overall in 16th with 397pts. ... Kostelic also leads the slalom standings 595-560 over Hirscher with two races remaining ... Myhrer is third with 444pts. ... Kasper is the top American in 16th with 148pts, eight points ahead of Ligety. ... Spence leads the Canadians in 26th with 93pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup standings 5170-3189 over Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 2750pts. ... The US ranks fifth with 1750 and Canada seventh with 1245pts.
FIS World Cup
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|26||27||421400||MYHRE Lars Elton||1984||NOR||56.43||59.84||1:56.27||19.66|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|55||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|42||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR|
|39||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|