Ligety claims huge margin in Soelden snowstorm
Emphatically. Ted Ligety won emphatically. Ted Ligety re-established himself as the best GS ski racer in the world overcoming horrid conditions for the first World Cup victory of the men's season, at Soelden, Austria today (Oct. 28), by a margin of 2.75 seconds. That kind of spread hasn't been seen since the 1970's. Rarely, if ever, had it been accomplished almost entirely in a single run.
There isn't a whole lot about ski racing that is patently fair. The first run demonstrated that at as snowstorm that had forced the close of the long and winding road up from the village of Soelden to the course on the Rettenbach Glacier. The storm broke after the first nine skiers of the first run had skied, Ligety among them.
The second run started snowy as well, and rather than breaking, it got progressively worse, snowing harder and harder with each passing racer. None of that mattered to Ligety. Sitting second after the first run, he ran next to last, giving him the worst conditions of any competitor in either run. He powered through the fresh snow, all but invisible to a crowd of 12,000 that had managed to claw their way up once stuck buses had been cleared from the road. He was confident, precise, strong and extremely courageous. Ted Ligety displayed he deserves to be called the best.
“What can I say about the incredible Ted Ligety,” said no less an authority than last season's overall and GS champion Marcel Hirscher. “Right now he is far away from me. ... He is in outter space. He skied awesome. He skied every gate perfect.”
On the “new” skis, with the dimensions being used for the first time this year, perfection is exactly what is required.
US Head Men's Coach Sasha Rearick explained: “They work great if you ski perfect. What they've done is they've taken away all the forgiveness.”
Ligety said he probably took more chances, particularly in the second run, than he should have.
“It was super bumpy and you couldn't see anything,” said Ligety. “I ski a little rounder than most and Ii think that helped me which is a bit weird. I was going all out on the full second run taking more risks than was probably smart.”
The result was a margin that is unprecedented in this century.
“To have won with the biggest margin in more than 30 years I am amazingly surprised. That's a crazy once in a career achievement. It's phenomenal. I don't expect I can do this ever again.”
He just might, but it will take a perfect storm, and a perfect response to it.
Overshadowed by the milestone career highlight day of Ligety were some strong performances from three other North Americans. Tim Jitloff finished 19th, sliding back after a stellar first run effort that had left him eighth. Canadians Jean-Philipp Roy posted 17th and Dustin Cook nailed down his first World Cup GS points in 22nd.
Jitloff said, “It was a little choppy, but you know every year I get a little more of an old man's belly and a little bit stronger and these new skis fit my body type a little more. ... (With) these new skis, it takes brute strength, and I like it. I like that aggression. Takes two runs, though.” -HM
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup Giant Slalom, Soelden, Austria, Oct. 28, 2012
1 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
2 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
6 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 DeTessieres, Head/Head/Head
8 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
9 Zampa, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Olsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Men's World Cup Giant Slalom, Soelden, Austria, Oct. 28, 2012: It is the second of 74 World Cup races scheduled this season. ... The first of 40 men's races. ... the first of eight scheduled giant slaloms. ... It is the 29th Cup race hosted by Soelden, all GS's and all held in October.
It is Ted Ligety's 12th World Cup win, all in GS. ... his second at Soelden having previously won last season. ... It is the 242nd US Cup win and first since finals last season. ... Ligety ties Daron Rahlves for fifth on all-time list of US winners, and extends his own record for US GS wins.
It is the 15th Cup podium result for Manfred Moelgg \. ... his third in GS. ... his first at Soelden
It is the 28th career Cup podium finish for Marcel Hirscher. ... his 12th in GS. ... his first at Soelden.
Jean-Philippe Roy matches his 12th best career Cup result and his eighth best GS result. ... It is the serventh best career result for Tim Jitloff. ... his fifth best in GS. ... and his best finish at Soelden by one placing. ... It is the second Cup scoring result for Dustin Cook and his career best.
Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 173-117 over Italy with the US third with 112pts.
Race is outstanding due to the winning margin of 2.75 seconds. ... It is the seventh largest in men's GS all time and the largest since Jasna 1979 when Ingemar Stenmark beat Bojan Krizaj by 4.06 seconds.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|7||27||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:19.86||1:19.89||2:39.75||21.28|
|13||30||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:20.38||1:19.98||2:40.36||24.76|
|16||39||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:20.25||1:20.26||2:40.51||25.61|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|66||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|51||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA|
|41||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR|
|36||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|8||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|24||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR|