There was a lot going on in what is usually a pretty standard race, the World Cup GS at Kranjska Gora. The winner March 5 just had heart surgery, second place went to a junior and Ted Ligety, the man who has won at the site the last three seasons, placed third by .12 of a second making him the prohibitive favorite to win his third GS crown. Heightening the drama was the second run DNF of the last man on course, first run leader Philipp Schoerghofer.
Swiss Carlo Janka got the win, his first of the season after surgery Feb. 23 to correct symptoms from heart arhythmias. Apparently that surgery was pretty successful. In second, by .02, was Alexis Pinturault of France. He started 34th, sat 16th after the first run and won the second run by .35. Pinturault won the World Junior GS gold medal Jan. 30 and leads the Europa Cup rankings both overall and in GS with three wins and seven podiums in his last nine EC GS starts. In 19 World Cup starts he has now finished in the points four times.
In third was Ligety having used this calendar stop to launch his final assault on the World Cup GS title the last three seasons with victories. Nothing is confirmed yet, but his third place may be good enough to notch his fourth GS crown. He leads the GS standings 383-306 (77pts) over Aksel Lund Svindal and by 80pts over Cyprien Richard. Svindal finished 22nd but Richard was fourth making the title hunt a three way race with Ligety clearly in the driver’s seat.
First run leader Philipp Schoerghofer, looking very much like he might collect his second career win, failed to finish the second heat, missing a gate.
“I am happy that my health is better,” said Janka. “That is the most important thing at the moment. It feels good to be back at the top.”
Janka won the World Cup overall title last season.
This season’s overall leader, Ivica Kostelic finished 18th, appearing to hold back in his second run after hooking, and injuring, his left arm near the bottom of the first run.
Pinturault’s second run was stunning and led the French to four skiers in the top 10, a result the French men haven’t accomplished in nearly 40 years. He turns 20 later this month and told Reuters that finishing, “… sandwiched between (Janka) and Ligety. … it’s really something.”
Ligety said having a little larger margin going into World Cup finals was “definitely nice,” and said the Kranjska Gora hill was a bit different than usual.
“They did a really good job with the surface,” he said, “but I think they got a bunch of snow since they actually did the surface so it was kind of slick/icy and with the warming conditions it made a different kind of layer on top with grippier ice in different sections. so that was giving some guys some problems” He said both course sets were challenging adding, “just being able to finish, and finish on the podium, was a good thing.”
By Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 5, 2011
1 Janka, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
3 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
4 Richard, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
6 Olsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Moelgg, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
9 Missillier, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Blardone, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 5, 2011. … It is the 29th race on the men’s 38 race schedule. … the seventh of eight scheduled GS’s, the sixth held with on cancellation. … It is the 71st Cup race held at Kranjska Gora. …. the 35th GS.
It is the ninth career World Cup win for Carlo Janka. … his fourth in GS and his first at Kranjska Gora. … It is his first win and fifth podium of the season.
It is the first career World Cup podium for Alexis Pinturault and his fourth career Cup scoring result. … He is the current leader of the Europa Cup standings and the World Junior GS gold medalist.
It is the 25th career World Cup podium for Ted Ligety. … his 18th in GS. … It is his sixth career Cup podium at Kranjska Gora, three wins and three third place finishes. … He won at the site in GS in 2008, 2009 and 2010. … It is his fifth podium finish of the season, the other four GS wins, including the gold medal at World Championships.
Tim Jitloff matched his sixth best career World Cup score. … It is his best of three scoring results at Kranjska Gora. … The French had four men in the top 10 of a World Cup race for the first time since Dec. 9, 1971 when Jean-Noel Augert was second, Henri Duvillard third, Alain Penz eighth and Roger Rossat-Mignoud 10th.
With seven races remaining Ivica Kostelic (18th in race) leads the World Cup overall 1307-725 over Didier Cuche (did not race). … Aksel Lund Svindal (22nd in race) is third overall with 722pts. … Ligety leads Americans on the overall list in seventh place with 588pts. … Top Canadian is Michael Janyk in 35th with 172pts. … With one GS remaining Ligety leads the GS standings 383-306 over Svindal. … Cyprien Richard (4th in race) is third with 303pts. … Ligety needs to finish 11th or better in the final GS to assure the title. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup standings 4684-3228 over Switzerland. … Italy is third at 2592 and France fourth at 2580. … The U.S. is seventh with 1350 and Canada ninth with 942pts.
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|11||61||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||1:15.06||1:13.65||2:28.71||9.82|
|17||24||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:14.28||1:15.12||2:29.40||13.90|
|22||2||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:14.33||1:15.48||2:29.81||16.33|
|28||11||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:13.82||1:22.56||2:36.38||55.20|
|Did not qualify 1st run|
|58||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|64||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA|
|62||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|20||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR|