Sunday, (Dec. 16) the best ski racers on the planet were severely tested by Alta Badia’s classic giant slalom hill, the Gran Risa. One of them rose above the challenge: America’s Ted Ligety put in a first run of gargantuan proportions to lead by an amazing 2.4 seconds. It proved more than enough to secure his 14th career GS win and put him in a tie with Hermann Maier and Benjamin Raich for fourth on the all-time GS win list (among men).
Though the defending GS champ, Marcel Hirscher, put the hammer down in his second run to illicit a bit of pressure, and although Ligety had his share of second run mistakes, touching his elbow to the snow high on the course, the first run lead proved to be too much for any to overcome. Ligety got his third GS win of the season by a massive 2.04 margin. Hirscher held second for his sixth podium of the season and Frenchman Thomas Fanara notched third, matching his career best mark from the same hill in December 2010 and at Adelboden in January 2011.
Ligety was at a loss to explain his first run heroics. “I guess,” he said, “I just arced more than everybody else.”
Arcing the Gran Risa is easier said than done. On a back and forth wide set second run down the classically rock hard surface, few looked good through their entire run. With just five skiers within three seconds of Ligety the only hope was to go all out and hope the American failed to stay on course. Though his touch down raised the possibility, Ligety’s physical strength allowed him to recover and mental strength to maintain his composure.
Ligety said the run was ” … a tough ride. It (Alta Badia) is always very technical and was really bumpy in that second run. A couple of times I had my elbow in the snow and everything. It wasn’t easy but I was able to stay on my feet in the finish line at least.”
The fastest second run of the day went to Mathieu Faivre, the first man out of the start. It created a lead that held through a dozen skiers, until Davide Simoncelli used training knowledge of his local hill to take over. Faivre eventually fell to tenth. German Fritz Dopfer quickly wrestled the lead away from Simoncelli. They would finish fourth and fifth. Alexis Pinturault, with – at 21 years of age – limited experience on the Gran Risa, had been third after one run but saw his lead dwindle from errors committed high on the track leaving only Hirscher to present a challenge.
And he tried, oh how he tried. Hirscher was magnificent in recording the second fastest time of the afternoon heat pushing to the limit the length of the course. Though he beat the rest of the field by nearly a second and a quarter, Ligety needed to court disaster to lose the race. He courted it, but did not succumb to it.
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 16, 2012
1 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
4 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/
5 Simoncelli, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
7 Sandell, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
9 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
10 Faivre, Head/Head/Head
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 16, 2012. … It is the 23rd race of the 73 race 2012-13 World Cup season. … The 12th of 36 men’s races and the fourth of eight scheduled giant slaloms. … The remaining four GS races include one in January, one in February and two in March. … It is the 29th Cup race hosted at Alta Badia and the 24th GS.
It is the 14th career World Cup win for Ted Ligety. … All of them in GS. … It is his third win of the season. … It is the 249th US Cup win. … He moves into a tie for fourth among men all time for GS wins with Benjamin Raich and Hermann Maier. … He trails Alberto Tomba’s 15, Michael VonGruenigen’s 23 and Ingemar Stenmark’s 46 GS wins. … It is his second win at Alta Badia. … Massimiliano Blardone, Kalle Palander and Tomba own the most wins at the site with three each.
It is the 33rd career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Hirscher. … his 15th in GS. … It is his sixth podium of the season in six completed races. … It is his second podium scored at Alta Badia having won last season’s slalom.
It is the third career Cup podium for Thomas Fanara, all of them third place finishes. … He was third at Alta Badia Dec. 19, 2010 and at Adelboden Jan. 8, 2011, both in GS. … It was his third score of the season having also placed fourth at Soelden and seventh in GS at Val d’Isere.
It is the fifth best Cup result for Tim Jitloff of 20 scoring results. … It is one placing better than his score at Alta Badia last season.
Aksel Lund Svindal (ninth in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 614-508 over Ligety. … Hirscher is third with 460pts. … Erik Guay (did not race) is top Canadian in 11th with 182pts. … Ligety leads the GS standings 360-320 over Hirscher. … Manfred Moelgg (19th in race) is third with 162pts. … Jean-Philippe Roy is top Canadian in 36th with 14pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1986-1483 over Italy. … France is third with 1106. … The US ranks fifth with 865 and Canada seventh with 384pts.
Alta Badia (ITA)
FIS World Cup
Men’s Giant Slalom
Dec. 16, 2012
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|9||12||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||1:21.14||1:20.99||2:42.13||27.50|
|11||38||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA||1:22.41||1:20.08||2:42.49||29.54|
|15||30||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR||1:21.43||1:21.23||2:42.66||30.50|
|22||25||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR||1:22.87||1:20.72||2:43.59||35.77|
|24||51||193967||MUFFAT JEANDET Victor||1989||FRA||1:23.06||1:21.05||2:44.11||38.71|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|67||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|41||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|26||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|