Hirscher gets win, globe and overall lead
Marcel Hirscher won his ninth race of the season leading an Austrian sweep of the GS finale in front of an appreciative shirt-sleeved Schladming home crowd, taking the GS crown and the lead for the overall title with one slalom remaining.
With an outside shot at retaining the GS title at the start of the day Ted Ligety barely lasted through the first run. He was charging through his run and had a .43 lead when he generated too much speed and couldn't make his skis grip getting pushed out of the line and wide of a gate. He hiked to get the second run, but his chance to overtake the Austrian were over.
Between runs Ligety tweeted: “Live by the sword die by the sword. Skied great GS this year. Couldn't compete with Hirscher's consistency. Hats off to him.” He did record the fastest second run of the day, and he used skis that will be legal next season in doing so.
Ligety's first run error assured Hirscher the GS title and trophy, which took some pressure off, but Hirscher said he had dealt with the situation by thinking of the race as being one in January.
The surface conditions broke down quickly, particularly in the first run before the chemical applications could take effect. The top four finishers of the run were also the first four starters and ruts were already forming - and causing troubles - after they finished.
Marcel Mathis, 20, added his second podium of the season in five career World Cup races, with a brilliant second run, second fastest behind Ligety, to jump from 11th to third. First run winner Hannes Reichelt couldn't match Hirscher's final attack and finished second for the Austria podium sweep.
Mathis' second run drew the attention of the 30,000 fans which had been concentrated on the entertaining run of Didier Cuche and the subsequent tribute paid to him by the bulk of the finishers.
Didier Cuche skied his final run of a 19 year World Cup career on edgeless wooden skis, leather boots, cable bindings and in full costume with double breasted jacket and knapsack, stopping to give his bib to race director Gunter Hjuara. In the finish he kicked a ski in the air, as is his trademark. Many racers paid tribute to the five time winner of the Kitzbuehel downhill by attempting his finish area flip. It apparently is much more difficult that he has made it look.
Hirscher emphatically brought the crowd attention back to the race hill. In the worst of the conditions he fired at the course, the only man to manage a tuck in the mid-section of Schladming's Planai race hill. As the crowd roared it's approval he moved ahead of Mathis by a half second. Reichelt got a touch behind the course on the steep finishing pitch and settled in between his teammates, .19 behind the season's best male skier.
“In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined a day like today,”
Hirscher said. "This has been a hectic time for me and I was just trying
to stay focused on my skiing, not let all that talk about the globes
get to me.
"Everyone has been speculating about that crystal globe while for me it
was still all just about winning races. As long as I don’t have the
Overall globe in my hands I will not get euphoric about it. I have a
hard time believing it’s real.”
In addition to securing the GS globe, Hirscher moved past Beat Feuz for the lead of the overall standings 1355 to 1330. Feuz gained no points on the day finishing 21st (only the top 15 score in the reduced field of World Cup Finals). With surgery planned to remove bone fragments in his knee, Feuz, primarily a speed skier, may skip the final slalom.
Mathias Berthold, the head coach of the Austrian men’s ski team called this the best day of his coaching career.
“You couldn’t ask for more- top three spots today, a GS cup, the
Overall…” Berthold listed out what his team achieved today. “Bit’s and
pieces came together. Since last year we have been getting better and
better as a team. There is Marcel as our top racer and than the whole
team that stands behind him. Today was unbelievable, it’s the most
amazing day in my life as a coach.”
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Schladming, Austria, March 17, 2012
1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Mathis, Head/Head/Head
4 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
5 Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Grange, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Simoncelli, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Olsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Missillier, Dynastar/Lange/Look
10 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Schladming, Austria, March 17, 2012. ... It is the 43rd race of the men's 45 race 2012 World Cup schedule with one race remaining and one cancellation. ... It is the ninth and final GS.
It is the 12th career World Cup win for Marcel Hirscher. ... his sixth in GS. ... It is his ninth win of the season and fourth in GS. ... He has been on the podium in 14 of 17 completed races this season.
It is the 19th career World Cup podium placing for Hannes Reichelt. ... his sixth in GS. ... It is his seventh podium placing of the season. ... his third in GS. ... he did not score a win this season.
It is the second career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Mathis in five completed Cup races, all this season and all in GS. ... He was also third at Bansko Feb. 18.
North Americans: Ted Ligety finished 25th and had the fastest second run.
Standings: Hirscher moves into the lead of the World Cup overall standings 1355-1330 over Beat Feuz (21st in race) with one race remaining. ... Aksel Lund Svindal (16th in race) is third overall with 1131pts and cannot win the title. ... Ligety is tenth with 829pts. ... Jan Hudec (did not race) leads Canada in 16th with 548pts. ... Hirscher wins the GS title 705-513 over Ligety. ... Massimiliano Blardone (DNF 2nd) is third with 408pts. ... Jean-Philippe Roy (did not race) is top Canadian in the final GS list in 29th with 62pts.
FIS World Cup
Men's Giant Slalom
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|14||25||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR||1:13.29||1:15.16||2:28.45||17.46|
|16||8||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:12.29||1:16.35||2:28.64||18.59|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|