Ted Ligety on the Birds of Prey GS track. GEPA

Ted Ligety on the Birds of Prey GS track. GEPA

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – After a first run deficit that left Ted Ligety sitting in fourth, the Beaver Creek crowd wondered if his early season woes would continue stateside. But the minute he pushed out of the start on run two, those questions were quickly erased.

Ligety attacked from the beginning with aggressive, clean turns that were less frequent in run one, and he built upon his advantage at each interval. A small mistake coming over Golden Eagle was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect run, and he came through the finish to the roars of the crowd with a 0.94 second advantage. But the race was far from over with Marcel Hirscher, Alexis Pinturault, and surprising first run leader, Benjamin Raich, still to come.

Hirscher, who had the smallest of advantages in the start (only one-hundredth of a second over Ligety), never looked comfortable on course and lost time on every turn, coming down with a six-tenths deficit. Next up was Pinturault, who surprised even himself with a third-place finish in yesterday’s super G. He skied strongly, but he needed to ski flawlessly in order to stay ahead of Ligety. His lead of 0.24 slowly evaporated and he crossed the finish line 0.18 out.

Two down, one to go.

The final racer to stand between Ligety and his 23rd victory in GS was Raich, the winner of 36 World Cup races and also the oldest contender in the race. But it was not to be for Raich, as he ran into trouble before the first interval and immediately lost his small advantage of 0.25 from run one. The mistakes kept piling up all the way down the course for Raich, leaving a podium finish out of reach. Raich ultimately crossed the finish in fourth place for the second straight GS race. The win belonged to Ligety.

“Hirscher and Pinturault – those guys are amazing skiers, for sure. Those guys are the guys I love to watch skiing, and to be able to get in front of them is always nice,” said Ligety. “It’s hard to pick favorites, for sure, but to be able to win on home soil is always awesome, and to get the first win of the year so far is definitely a nice way to get the rest of the season going. After the first race, not doing as well as I wanted to, I was a little bit frustrated. That’s how it goes sometimes in ski racing.”

The win marked Ligety’s fourth straight and fifth overall on the Beaver Creek track. It is his 23rd victory in GS, tying Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen for second all-time, trailing only Swedish star Ingemar Stenmark with his 46 wins.

“Stenmark is so far away. He’s such a legend in the sport. I think what he’s done is pretty unattainable. To be able to pass or equal Von Gruenigen at this point is awesome. He was one of my childhood heroes,” acknowledged Ligety. “I loved watching him compete in the World Cups in Park City when I was a kid, so to be able to have the same amount of World Cup wins as him is pretty surreal. I never would have guessed that I’d be anywhere close to him as a kid. To be up there with one of the legends of our sport is really cool.”

After the opening GS in Soelden, it looked as if Hirscher’s new strength and set-up would finally give him the edge over Ligety in the event. But today, Ligety showed that he his still the man to beat in GS, with an impressive second run in challenging conditions.

“It was definitely not easy today … it is super cool that I am on the podium especially after both runs were pretty fast,” said Hirscher of the course sets. “So I am super happy to be on the podium again … As we saw today, Ted was definitely one of the best, no, I’m sure the best GS skier in the world.”

Pinturault continued his consistent season with his third podium of the year and second in GS after finishing third in Soelden. He was the only one to remain close to Ligety on run two, but could not match the clean skiing clinic that Ligety put on.

“I tried to stay focused only on my skis and to ski as fast as possible. I’m fine in second which is a really good place for me today,” said Pinturault of the result. “For me it’s not surprising to see the top five today. I think it’s going to be a big fight between the four of us.”

The Americans had a strong showing to back up Ligety’s win. Tim Jitloff skied two skillful runs to finish ninth, besting his previous best result in Beaver Creek of 10th. He had impressive top sections both runs, but ran into trouble on the bottom half of the course. Regardless, he was pleased with his top-10 result and feels confident heading into Are, Sweden, next weekend.

“That last bump got me. … I think without that one I could have pulled ahead and be sitting in first right now (with nine skiers remaining). But after Soelden and crashing out in the second run, I’m happy that I came down and I put together a pretty solid second run,” said Jitloff. “We have to build momentum going to Are, and then we’re going to try to kick it up a notch and get a better placing. … I did not want to come into the second run with the approach of I have to do something special to get up in the top 10. I just want to ski consistently and the way I have been, and it should be enough.”

Dark skies from the morning cleared to help eight racers outside of the top 30 qualify for a second run, but none had a bigger move than American David Chodounsky. The former slalom specialist squeezed into the top 30 — starting bib 66 — from 29th after run one, and he took advantage of a much earlier start in the second run to finish 17th for his first-ever GS World Cup points.

“It’s unbelievable! I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I was skiing well, coming off a second place at the NorAm last week. But I just came in here wanting to have fun, whatever happened happened,” said an excited Chodounsky in the finish. “I knew I had a shot here to make it in the 30, but I wasn’t expecting it I guess. I just was going to have fun, and it worked out. Second run, that was such a smooth course, it was so much fun. I took advantage, I had a good run, and I’m really happy.”

The remaining Americans did not fare as well. Brennan Rubie was skiing a fast run, but fell on his hip with the finish line in sight, causing him to miss qualifying for a second run. Mark Engel ran into trouble over the final jump and did not finish and Jared Goldberg did not qualify for a second run.

The only Canadian to qualify for a second run was Dustin Cook, who finished 30th on run one and moved up to 21st for a career-best GS result.

The men’s tour moves to Are, Sweden, next weekend to replace the Val D’Isere races. They will race a night GS on Friday, after the women, and a day slalom on Sunday.

 

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

  1. Ligety, Head/Head/Head
  2. Pinturault, Head/Head/Head
  3. Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  4. Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  5. Muffat-Jeandet, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  6. Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  7. Janka, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  8. Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
  9. Jitloff, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  10. Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/

Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Beaver Creek, USA, Dec. 7, 2014:

  • It is the seventh of 36 races on the men’s World Cup calendar, the second of eight scheduled GS’s. … It is the final of three World Cup races set at Beaver Creek this season. … It is the 14th World Cup GS hosted by Beaver Creek. … Ted Ligety has won the last three men’s GS races at the site.
  • It is the 24th career World Cup win for Ted Ligety. … The 273rd U.S. World Cup win. … Ligety ranks fourth among all Americans and trails Phil Mahre by three wins for third place. … It is his fifth win at Beaver Creek and his fifth GS win at the site in the last five seasons.
  • It is the 25th career World Cup podium result for Alexis Pinturault … his 12th in GS. … It is his third podium of the season in three scoring races.
  • It is the 61st career World Cup podium for Marcel Hirscher in 105 World Cup scoring finishes. … It is his seventh podium in eight finishes at Beaver Creek.
  • It is the fifth-best career score for Tim Jitloff … his career best at Beaver Creek. … It is the first career GS score for David Chodounsky. … It is a career-best GS finish for Dustin Cook.
  • Kjetil Jansrud (15th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 412-240 over Marcel Hirscher. … Hannes Reichelt (25th in race) holds third with 207pts. … Ted Ligety sits sixth with 166pts. … Manuel Osborne-Paradis (did not race) is the top Canadian in tenth with 127pts.
  • Hirscher holds the lead of the GS standings 160-140 over Alexis Pinturault. … Ligety is third at 126.
  • Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1080-694 over Italy. … France is third at 682. … The US is sixth with 491pts and Canada seventh with 308pts.

 

RESULTS

 1  7  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:15.95  1:18.12  2:34.07  0.00
 2  3  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  1:15.71  1:18.54  2:34.25  +0.18  1.14
 3  1  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:15.94  1:18.73  2:34.67  +0.60  3.82
 4  2  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  1:15.70  1:19.24  2:34.94  +0.87  5.53
 5  12  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  1:17.17  1:17.84  2:35.01  +0.94  5.98
 6  5  191750 FANARA Thomas 1981 FRA  1:16.87  1:18.27  2:35.14  +1.07  6.81
 7  22  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:17.68  1:17.47  2:35.15  +1.08  6.87
 8  4  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:16.18  1:19.03  2:35.21  +1.14  7.25
 9  20  534959 JITLOFF Tim 1985 USA  1:17.19  1:18.18  2:35.37  +1.30  8.27
 10  6  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  1:16.83  1:18.63  2:35.46  +1.39  8.84
 11  13  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu 1992 FRA  1:16.69  1:18.78  2:35.47  +1.40  8.91
 12  15  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  1:17.14  1:18.35  2:35.49  +1.42  9.03
 13  38  180666 TORSTI Samu 1991 FIN  1:17.85  1:17.66  2:35.51  +1.44  9.16
 14  8  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA  1:16.86  1:18.67  2:35.53  +1.46  9.29
 15  16  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:16.48  1:19.31  2:35.79  +1.72  10.94
 16  23  51159 NOESIG Christoph 1985 AUT  1:17.38  1:18.43  2:35.81  +1.74  11.07
 17  66  534508 CHODOUNSKY David 1984 USA  1:18.03  1:18.01  2:36.04  +1.97  12.53
 18  43  511852 CAVIEZEL Gino 1992 SUI  1:17.88  1:18.17  2:36.05  +1.98  12.59
 19  28  292967 EISATH Florian 1984 ITA  1:18.00  1:18.20  2:36.20  +2.13  13.55
 19  21  292120 SIMONCELLI Davide 1979 ITA  1:17.39  1:18.81  2:36.20  +2.13  13.55
 21  34  100558 COOK Dustin 1989 CAN  1:18.06  1:18.18  2:36.24  +2.17  13.80
 22  11  501324 OLSSON Matts 1988 SWE  1:17.82  1:18.62  2:36.44  +2.37  15.07
 23  19  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp 1983 AUT  1:17.59  1:18.90  2:36.49  +2.42  15.39
 24  17  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT  1:17.67  1:18.98  2:36.65  +2.58  16.41
 25  31  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT  1:17.39  1:19.28  2:36.67  +2.60  16.54
 26  42  511638 TUMLER Thomas 1989 SUI  1:17.74  1:19.35  2:37.09  +3.02  19.21
 27  9  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  1:16.60  1:20.72  2:37.32  +3.25  20.67
 28  18  180534 SANDELL Marcus 1987 FIN  1:17.56  1:19.81  2:37.37  +3.30  20.99
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 71  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej 1988 POL
 70  390035 SMITH Warren Cummings 1992 EST
 69  40553 CHEVALIER Luc Henri 1992 AUS
 68  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 67  150834 ZIKA Adam 1989 CZE
 65  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO
 64  561254 ZERAK Misel 1992 SLO
 63  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK
 62  380318 BRIGOVIC Sebastian 1992 CRO
 61  400237 MEINERS Maarten 1992 NED
 60  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA
 58  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA
 57  990051 BOSCA Giulio 1990 ITA
 56  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR
 55  511741 ZURBRIGGEN Elia 1990 SUI
 54  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 53  290693 PLONER Alexander 1978 ITA
 51  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA
 50  481103 ANDRIENKO Aleksander 1990 RUS
 48  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT
 46  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 45  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 44  293550 MARSAGLIA Matteo 1985 ITA
 41  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 39  501458 LINDH Calle 1990 SWE
 37  511718 PLEISCH Manuel 1990 SUI
 36  103762 WERRY Tyler 1991 CAN
 35  103676 BROWN Phil 1991 CAN
 33  934568 RUBIE Brennan 1991 USA
 32  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO
 30  53985 MATHIS Marcel 1991 AUT
 27  292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano 1979 ITA
 26  150398 BANK Ondrej 1980 CZE
 25  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE
 24  191423 RICHARD Cyprien 1979 FRA
 14  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA
Did not finish 2nd run
 59  202451 STRASSER Linus 1992 GER
 52  202345 SCHWAIGER Dominik 1991 GER
Did not finish 1st run
 49  54031 LEITINGER Roland 1991 AUT
 47  934523 ENGEL Mark 1991 USA
 40  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 29  990048 BORSOTTI Giovanni 1990 ITA
 10  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER
Article Tags: Alpine, Top Story

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Jessica Kelley
Contributor
- A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team, Kelley collected three NorAm titles, won GS silver at the 2002 World Junior Championships, and was a member of the 2007 World Championships team during her professional career. She resides in Park City, Utah, with her husband, Adam Cole.
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