Blardone gets tough GS win, Hirscher 2nd, Ligety 9th
Massimiliano Blardone earned every bit of the World Cup GS win at Crans Montana, Switzerland Sunday (Feb. 26). A long, deteriorating track coupled with a complicated course set provided plenty of drama and few (if any) smooth, clean runs. Blardone made fewer mistakes, charged harder, and made a critical transition through a blind gate that caused many to falter smoothly to edge out first run leader Marcel Hirscher for his second win of the season.
“It is very, very difficult snow,” he said in the finish after having climbed to the top of the padded finish area fencing to celebrate with well-wishers. “I am very happy.”
Blardone had been second to Hirscher after the first run by just two hundreds while Aksel Lund Svindal - a second run crash victim - was a half second out in third. With just the 18th and 20th fastest second runs that margin proved vital. Hannes Reichelt, tenth after the first run, finished up third on the day with a strong second run. Hirscher was a close second, .16 behind the Italian.
Ted Ligety, in a battle with Hirscher to retain the GS title, finished ninth and now faces the daunting challenge of making up 132pts against Hirscher in the two remaining GS races. He could have trouble holding on to second as Blardone is 55pts behind and riding a streak of four straight podium finishes.
There were three Americans in the points with Tommy Ford and Tim Jitloff finishing 19th and 22nd respectively. Bode Miller did not start.
"Both Tommy and Ted made a big tactical mistake at the bottom," said coach Sasha Rearick. The coach said Ligety would not go to Kvitfjell, Norway where a downhill and two super G's are slated in favor of rest and technical training. "He's not skiing with the tremendous cleanliness and crispness that we know he can ski with. Over the rolls here he just wasn't skiing with a lot of confidence."
The coach said both Ford and Jitloff took too aggressive a line which cost them. Both could still qualify for World Cup finals in GS (top 25) with strong results at Kranjska Gora
March 10. Jitloff is currently ranked 24th and Ford 28th.
Blardone said he has picked up motivation where he hadn't really expected it. "My family will be expanding in a few months (his girlfriend is due in April) and I have a bigger responsibility than the one for myself. ... I need to finish my house and have everything ready."
Hirscher said he was glad to have gotten second place points. "This was a difficult race and I think being able to still win some important points is what matters."
by Hank McKee
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Crans Montana, Switzerland, Feb 26, 2012
1 Blardone, Dynastar/Lange/Look
2 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Reichelt, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
4 Grange, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Defago, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol
6 Schoerghofer, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
7 Mathis, Head/Head/Head
8 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/
9 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
10 Sandell, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Men's World Cup giant slalom, Crans Montana, Switzerland, Feb. 26, 2012. ... It is the 35th race of the men's 44 race 2012 World Cup schedule. ... The seventh of nine scheduled GS's. ... It is the 34th Cup race hosted at least in part by Crans Montana. ... the sixth GS.
It is the seventh career World Cup win for Massimiliano Blardone. ... all in GS. ... and his second win of the season, the previous coming at Alta Badia Dec. 18. ... He has been on every GS podium since that date.
It is the 24th career World Cup podium placing for Marcel Hirscher. ... his ninth in GS. ... It is his 11th podium of the season in 15 completed races and fifth in GS for the season.
It is the 17th career World Cup podium result for Hannes Reichelt. ... his fifth in GS. ... It is his fifth podium of the season and first not in downhill.
North Americans: It is the 81st career World Cup top 10 for Ted Ligety. ... his 38th in GS. ... It is his 12th top 10 of the season in 18 completed races. ... It is the fifth best career World Cup finish for Tommy Ford and third best in GS. ... It is his third best finish of the season. ... It is the ninth best Cup career result for Tim Jitloff. ... seventh best in GS. ... It is his fifth score of the season.
Standings: Hirscher extends his lead of the World Cup overall standings to 1135-1043 over Ivica Kostelic (did not race). ... Beat Feuz (did not qualify for 2nd run) is third with 1040. ... Ligety is eighth overall with 674pts and Bode Miller (did not race) is tenth at 612pts. ... Jan Hudec is top Canadian overall in 16th with 459pts. ... Hirscher leads the GS standings 545-413 over Ligety with two races remaining. ... Blardone is third with 358pts. ... Jean-Philippe Roy is top Canadian in GS rankings in 29th with 55pts. ... Austria leads the men's Nations Cup 6042-3621 over Switzerland. ... Italy is third with 3058. ... The US is fifth with 1851 and Canada seventh with 1418pts.
FIS World Cup
Men's Giant Slalom
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|12||25||420148||KARLSEN Truls Ove||1975||NOR||1:17.58||1:17.60||2:35.18||7.98|
|18||21||191746||DE TESSIERES Gauthier||1981||FRA||1:17.95||1:17.57||2:35.52||9.90|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|64||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG|
|59||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA|
|51||421946||KRISTIANSEN Emil Bjoertomt||1990||NOR|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|2||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|46||990116||DE ALIPRANDINI Luca||1990||ITA|
|36||421669||HAUGEN Leif Kristian||1987||NOR|