If you ask Marcel Hirscher, his giant slalom victory in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Sunday was not his best race. But looking at the numbers, it’s almost impossible to fathom a more dominant performance.

Hirscher was fastest in the first run, fastest in the second run, amounting to a 3.28-second win over his closest competitor, hometown kid Felix Neureuther. With the victory, Hirscher all but locked up the GS title with a 188-point advantage over Ted Ligety, who finished fourth on the day. Ligety was outpaced by Benny Raich who earned his first World Cup podium in nearly a year.

“I tried my best,” said Hirscher. “There’s no conclusion why it worked that good today. I always give my best but I think today the conditions, the course setting worked pretty well for my setup and my style of skiing. Everything worked amazing. It is just unbelievable. … I risked everything, but there were other races where I felt much better.”

Because of this year’s schedule including the World Championships held in the U.S., the race marked the first men’s World Cup giant slalom since Adelboden on Jan. 10, seven weeks ago.

Hirscher said he was happy to be back skiing European snow, which he prefers over the North American variety featured at the World Championships where he took silver to Ligety’s gold. On Sunday, Hirscher skied a high, early line with unmatched physicality to secure the third-largest margin of victory in a men’s World Cup GS behind legend Ingemar Stenmark.

“I did nothing special today,” added Hirscher. “It’s really unbelievable because I just skied. … I think if you ask all the other athletes what was so special today … in each turn I caught up two or three hundredths of a second. In general, if you do this in every turn, it makes for a big gap. I think this is the reason for today’s amazing victory.”

For Neureuther, finishing runner-up on home snow is about as good as it gets, considering the insurmountable performance by the Austrian. In his second run, Neureuther skied a couple ragged turns out of the start but settled in nicely to hone his technical skills and build momentum in the middle and lower parts of the course. The second-place result marks Neureuther’s first GS podium in nearly a year.

“In front of the home crowd, it’s always something special to be on the podium,” Neureuther said. “For me, GS is a little bit different than slalom. Today I am very happy with my skiing and with the second place.

“Marcel of course is in a different league. … He’s skiing good. He’s skiing really good. Of course, today when the conditions are like that, when the course setting is like that, Marcel is not the tallest guy. He has a lot of strength in his legs. He can turn the skis as fast as nobody else.”

Similarly, Ligety said Hirscher’s skiing was “really impressive. First run was like skiing in one of those kiddie ball rooms where you jump into the pit. You have no ability to get anything out of the turn. (Hirscher) was the only one able to get anything out of the turn.”

After the race, Ligety acknowledged the gold medal in Beaver Creek was his “one bright spot” this season. “It was not the greatest year, that’s for sure. Luckily salvaged it with the World Championships.”

Tim Jitloff and Tommy Ford joined Ligety with strong results for the American team. Jitloff, who lives in Germany, found his stride in the afternoon with the second fastest second run behind Hirscher. Skiing a tight, aggressive line and making athletic recoveries, Jitloff jumped from from 24th after the first run to 10th after the later performance.

And Ford with a solid outing proved his top-20 finish at the World Championships was the real deal. The 25-year-old, who’s been slowly battling back from a broken femur two years ago, basically had the opposite experience from Jitloff: He skied a competitive, 13th-fastest first run but faltered in the second run to finish 23rd on the day.

“First run was a cranker,” said Ford. “The snow was good — took advantage of that and made clean turns the whole way. I was able to maintain movement the whole way down and stay strong through the finish. Got good position for second run and the snow changed a bit and I didn’t quite adapt.”

With the result, Ford earned his first World Cup points since 2012.

See more photos from this race here.

 

The Scoop By Hank McKee

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

Men’s World Cup giant slalom, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, March 1, 2015:

  • It is the 29th of 38 races on the men’s schedule … the sixth of eight scheduled GS’s. … It is the 101st World Cup race hosted – at least in part – by Garmisch … just the fifth GS. … Alex Pinturault won the most recent GS at the site Feb. 24, 2013.
  • It is the 30th career World Cup win for Marcel Hirscher … his 14th in GS. …  It is his eighth win of the season including gold in alpine combined at the World Championships. … The winning margin is an astounding 3.28 seconds. … third largest in history in men’s GS, biggest since 1979. … The top 14 skiers are within five seconds.
  • It is the 37th career World Cup podium placing for Felix Neureuther … his fourth in GS. … It is his second podium at Garmisch and his ninth podium of the season including one World Championship medal.
  • It is the 93rd career World Cup podium for Benjamin Raich … his 35th in GS. … It is his first podium since March 8, 2014.
  • It is the second straight GS in which Ted Ligety has missed the podium after a 17 of 18 string of podium placings. … It is the seventh career top 10 for Tim Jitloff … his second World Cup top 10 of the season. … It is the fourth best World Cup result for Dustin Cook. … All of his better results have come this season. … It is the first scoring result for Tommy Ford since Dec. 2, 2012.
  • Hirscher leads the World Cup overall standings 1128-940 over Kjetil Jansrud (15th in race). … Alexis Pinturault is third overall with 744pts. … Ted Ligety is tenth with 470pts.
  • Hirscher leads the GS standings 560-372 over Ligety with only two races remaining. Pinturault is third at 355pts. … Dustin Cook is the top Canadian in 29th place with 32pts.
  • Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 4552-2921 over France. … Italy is third with 2707pts. … The U.S. is seventh with 1538pts and Canada ninth with 488pts.

 

Results

 1  4  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:23.28  1:19.95  2:43.23  0.00
 2  1  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:25.48  1:21.03  2:46.51  +3.28  19.69
 3  3  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  1:25.27  1:21.40  2:46.67  +3.44  20.65
 4  6  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:26.12  1:20.67  2:46.79  +3.56  21.37
 5  5  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  1:25.43  1:21.48  2:46.91  +3.68  22.09
 6  10  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:26.13  1:21.39  2:47.52  +4.29  25.76
 7  12  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA  1:26.06  1:21.52  2:47.58  +4.35  26.12
 8  13  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  1:26.17  1:21.46  2:47.63  +4.40  26.42
 9  14  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  1:26.47  1:21.37  2:47.84  +4.61  27.68
 10  8  534959 JITLOFF Tim 1985 USA  1:27.43  1:20.54  2:47.97  +4.74  28.46
 11  2  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  1:25.46  1:22.57  2:48.03  +4.80  28.82
 12  11  501324 OLSSON Matts 1988 SWE  1:26.03  1:22.01  2:48.04  +4.81  28.88
 13  15  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  1:26.58  1:21.56  2:48.14  +4.91  29.48
 14  7  191750 FANARA Thomas 1981 FRA  1:26.29  1:21.91  2:48.20  +4.97  29.84
 15  16  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:26.28  1:22.08  2:48.36  +5.13  30.80
 16  18  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp 1983 AUT  1:27.33  1:21.17  2:48.50  +5.27  31.64
 17  39  511718 PLEISCH Manuel 1990 SUI  1:27.40  1:21.13  2:48.53  +5.30  31.82
 18  33  100558 COOK Dustin 1989 CAN  1:27.14  1:21.42  2:48.56  +5.33  32.00
 19  19  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu 1992 FRA  1:26.98  1:21.60  2:48.58  +5.35  32.12
 20  20  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER  1:27.04  1:21.63  2:48.67  +5.44  32.66
 21  53  290095 BALLERIN Andrea 1989 ITA  1:27.81  1:20.90  2:48.71  +5.48  32.90
 22  24  511852 CAVIEZEL Gino 1992 SUI  1:27.39  1:21.46  2:48.85  +5.62  33.74
 23  34  531799 FORD Tommy 1989 USA  1:26.41  1:22.45  2:48.86  +5.63  33.80
 24  17  292967 EISATH Florian 1984 ITA  1:27.78  1:21.26  2:49.04  +5.81  34.88
 24  9  180534 SANDELL Marcus 1987 FIN  1:26.84  1:22.20  2:49.04  +5.81  34.88
 26  21  292120 SIMONCELLI Davide 1979 ITA  1:27.03  1:22.10  2:49.13  +5.90  35.42
 27  22  51159 NOESIG Christoph 1985 AUT  1:28.07  1:21.15  2:49.22  +5.99  35.96
 28  31  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO  1:27.82  1:21.45  2:49.27  +6.04  36.26
 29  29  292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano 1979 ITA  1:28.07  1:21.81  2:49.88  +6.65  39.93
 30  46  481103 ANDRIENKO Aleksander 1990 RUS  1:27.66  1:31.43  2:59.09  +15.86  95.22
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 57  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko 1986 CRO
 54  54080 NEUMAYER Christopher 1992 AUT
 52  103729 READ Erik 1991 CAN
 51  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA
 50  6530115 CHRISTIANSON Kieffer 1992 USA
 49  202345 SCHWAIGER Dominik 1991 GER
 48  291318 TONETTI Riccardo 1989 ITA
 47  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT
 44  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 43  511638 TUMLER Thomas 1989 SUI
 42  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 40  54031 LEITINGER Roland 1991 AUT
 37  103676 BROWN Phil 1991 CAN
 36  180666 TORSTI Samu 1991 FIN
 35  202597 SCHMID Alexander 1994 GER
 28  191423 RICHARD Cyprien 1979 FRA
 26  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA
 23  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA
Did not finish 2nd run
 56  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
Did not finish 1st run
 55  180705 PIRINEN Eemeli 1993 FIN
 45  53985 MATHIS Marcel 1991 AUT
 41  501458 LINDH Calle 1990 SWE
 38  511741 ZURBRIGGEN Elia 1990 SUI
 32  934568 RUBIE Brennan 1991 USA
 30  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO
 27  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE
 25  990048 BORSOTTI Giovanni 1990 ITA

 

Article Tags: Alpine , Top Rotator , Top Story

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Geoff Mintz
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Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism.
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