Ligety well positioned after DH leg of combined
The men's combined is shaping up to be the most exciting race of the 42nd World Ski Championships. After the downhill leg, with a long and difficult slalom coming down the familiar course used annually for the infamous Schladming Night Slalom set for the evening (6pm local, noon EST) Ted Ligety has put himself in position to challenge for his second gold medal.
It won't be easy. Romed Baumann was fastest down the full length of a grueling downhill with Aksel Lund Svindal sitting second, just .14 behind. Baumann has won World Cup combineds in Sestriere (2009) and Chamonix (2012) and Svindal has won the last two combined world championships. The slalom skiers should have an advantage at Schladming putting Ligety, the sixth place finisher, in the driver's seat. He is .72 behind Baumann. Other top contenders would include Ivica Kostelic in tenth, 1.37 out and Benjamin Raich (12th, 1.52out).
Baumann said his best slalom was “some years ago, but I had the chance to train slalom Saturday and I had a good feeling.”
Svindal voiced doubts about his chances. “This will be a very tough combined for the downhill guys; an almost impossible test. It is steep and super icy, maybe the most difficult slalom hill in the world. It doesn't look good for us, but it's not over until it's over.”
Ligety was please with his downhill effort, which was extraordinary, and felt he was in a good position to make an attack. So far this season he has failed to complete a combined slalom leg, though he has made the top 13 in all five of the Cup slaloms he has completed.
Ligety started behind the first seed in the 27th bib which turned out to be an advantage as the sun started to peek through the morning clouds and provided better light than many of the top skiers got for their runs. He held little back, throwing himself down the course, hitting 111kph in the speed trap (69mph) and surviving a scare when he got thrown off line above the final pitch.
He will get a course report before running in the slalom leg, which was not available in the downhill leg. Ryan Cochran-Siegle started before him in the downhill, but exited the course early, getting thrown by an unseen set of ripples - blowing up his knee - and skiing off course. Will Brandenburg also failed to complete the downhill, but Thomas Biesemeyer finished 21st, 3.03 seconds out, and will be able to radio up course information - assuming a finish - before Ligety skis for the gold.
The Austrian men have yet to bring in a medal and the fans (and press) are growing anxious to say the least. They'll be in full form for Raich, Baumann and for Matthias Mayer who will ski the slalom leg just before Ligety. This is going to be an exciting second leg.
FIS World Ski Championships
Men's Super Combined
Feb 11, 2013
AFTER THE DOWNHILL LEG
SLALOM LEG REMAINS
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|2||20||421328||SVINDAL Aksel Lund||1982||NOR||2:01.52||2:01.52|
|17||17||192504||MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas||1984||FRA||2:03.68||2:03.68|
|25||45||491151||DE LA CUESTA Paul||1988||SPA||2:05.10||2:05.10|
|40||4||30149||SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier||1980||ARG||2:10.34||2:10.34|