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Hirscher wins another GS, Ligety on podium in Alta Badia

Hirscher in Alta Badia (GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien)

Hirscher in Alta Badia (GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien)

Spring weather and a watered track made for trickier than usual conditions on the classic Gran Risa giant slalom hill in Alta Badia, Italy, the final men’s World Cup event before the holiday break. Even race winner Marcel Hirscher had a touch of difficulty, sliding onto his hip but making up for it with an aggressive line.

“If only you knew how bad my skiing and my feeling were yesterday, I doubt anyone would ever believe I could win today,” said Hirscher. “Somehow I still showed some really good skiing in the end, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Ted Ligety, the reigning World Cup and world champion in GS had what can only be called an “off day” doing battle with the steep course instead of controlling it as fans have grown accustomed to seeing. Not that he had a bad result, Ligety still notched third behind Hirscher and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, but he was seemingly behind from the moment he first touched the course.

“It was really, really important for me to win when Ted is competitive. I have done everything I possibly could to get closer to Ted, and it’s tough to get faster and faster but it was worth it,” Hirscher explained.

The win was Hirscher’s third of the season, and critically, his second in GS, moving him past Ligety into the lead of the World Cup GS standings. He also closed the gap with Aksel Lund Svindal in the race for the overall title.

“I was not very happy with my setup in Beaver Creek and Val d’Isere, and I finished just off the podium,” noted Pinturault. “We changed a few things and today it worked so I hope to continue on this path.”

The course, normally a glaze of ice, featured grippy snow this season, at least until it was skied off revealing the ice beneath. It varied dramatically along the course, even side to side.

The brightest U.S. story of the day came from Tim Jitloff. He rode a first run start from 31st position to a tie with German star Felix Neureuther for fifth place, matching his personal best from 2009. His second run effort was particularly good on a course that few seemed able to conquer.

“After the last two races I was really tired, from training for four weeks… in Colorado, and I just wasn’t fresh. I said after Val d’Isere I’m going to fly home, spend some time at home and get freshened up and see my girl,” said Jitloff. “Then I came in here at the end of the week, trained one day, and came right into the race fresh. Obviously when I’m fresh I ski well.”

Jitloff had posted consistent past results in Alta Badia, finishing 17th and 18th in 2012 and 2011, but he was looking for something more.

“Today was more about honestly just stepping up and saying, ok, let’s do this twice in a row without any big mistakes. And when I do that I’m just as capable of being as fast the rest of them. So, that was proven and I’m really psyched,” he said.

The course set by Hirscher’s Austrian coach Michael Pircher was deceptively difficult as it caught many top skiers, tagging them with costly errors that swallowed as much as two seconds. But there were other notable results. The Germans, who have never recorded a win at Alta Badia, finished with Neureuther tied for fifth, Fritz Dopfer in fourth for the second straight year and Stefan Luitz in the top 10.

Norwegian youngster Henrik Kristoffersen, having moved from bib 49 to ninth a week ago in the Val d’Isere GS, followed up by taking bib 40 to the 12th finish at Alta Badia. Denver resident Leif Kristian Haugen, also representing Norway, was ninth, his second stop in the top 10 of a World Cup GS this season.

Mistakes, though, were costly. Ivica Kostelic went down and slid into and knocked down a course marshal. With a single mistake, Luca DeAliprandini dropped from having the lead to seventh, eventually finishing 26th. Carlo Janka faced a similar situation, losing two seconds with one error.

“This is a special win,” said Hirscher. “Very many people have worked for this. The basic training days for the development of the setup has paid off. Now we are back where we belong.”

He said he was certain his second run error had cost enough time that Ligety would have passed, but he just made a correction, “and kept the pace as high as possible.”

Ligety suggested he had not attacked enough. “I had a couple of little mistakes and you pay for them on this type of snow.”

See more pictures from today’s race in our gallery.

 

The Scoop

Men’s World Cup giant slalom, Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 22, 2013

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

2 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

3 Ligety, Head/Head/Head

4 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/

5 Jitloff, Fisher/Fischer/Fischer

6 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker

7 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

8 Luitz, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

9 Haugen, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

10 Missillier, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

Men’s World Cup Gant Slalom, Alta Badia, Italy, Dec. 22, 2013. … It is the 12th of 34 races on the men’s schedule… the fourth of eight scheduled GS’s. … It is the 30th World Cup race hosted at Alta Badia… the 25th GS, 23rd for men.

It is the 21st career World Cup win for Marcel Hirscher and his 50th World Cup podium… at 24 years he is the fifth youngest to reach this milestone behind Ingemar Stenmark, Gustavo Thoeni, Pirmin Zubriggen and Marc Girardelli. … He also won the slalom at Alta Badia in 2011. … It marks his third win of the season and second in GS.

It is the 16th career podium for Alexis Pinturault… the eighth in GS. And second of the season, both in GS. … It is his first podium at Alta Badia.

It is the 40th career World Cup podium for Ted Ligety… the 33rd in GS and his fifth at Alta Badia, (third in GS).

Tim Jitloff matches his career best in fifth, first reached at Sestriere Feb. 21, 2009. … It is his second score of the season.

Aksel Lund Svindal (13th in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 530-435 over Hirscher. … Ligety is third with 329pts. … Bode Miller (DNQ) is sixth with 230pts and Erik Guay leads the Canadians overall in ninth with 201pts.

Hirscher leads the GS standings 320-260 over Ligety. … Pinturault is third with 255pts. … Miller is ninth with 92pts. … Trevor Philp (DNQ in race) is top Canadian in 45th with 5pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  2  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:18.14  1:19.31  2:37.45  0.00
 2  3  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  1:18.36  1:19.44  2:37.80  1.98
 3  5  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:18.55  1:19.48  2:38.03  3.28
 4  8  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  1:18.97  1:19.85  2:38.82  7.74
 5  31  534959 JITLOFF Tim 1985 USA  1:19.82  1:19.28  2:39.10  9.33
 5  7  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:19.72  1:19.38  2:39.10  9.33
 7  10  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  1:20.27  1:19.17  2:39.44  11.25
 8  11  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER  1:19.08  1:20.39  2:39.47  11.42
 9  20  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR  1:19.80  1:19.79  2:39.59  12.10
 10  9  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA  1:20.37  1:19.34  2:39.71  12.77
 11  21  191423 RICHARD Cyprien 1979 FRA  1:20.63  1:19.12  2:39.75  13.00
 12  40  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik 1994 NOR  1:21.56  1:18.22  2:39.78  13.17
 13  1  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  1:19.80  1:20.11  2:39.91  13.91
 14  6  191750 FANARA Thomas 1981 FRA  1:19.31  1:20.71  2:40.02  14.53
 15  19  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu 1992 FRA  1:20.27  1:19.79  2:40.06  14.75
 16  4  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  1:19.24  1:20.87  2:40.11  15.04
 17  30  193967 MUFFAT-JEANDET Victor 1989 FRA  1:21.43  1:18.92  2:40.35  16.39
 18  13  180534 SANDELL Marcus 1987 FIN  1:21.69  1:18.68  2:40.37  16.51
 19  27  292967 EISATH Florian 1984 ITA  1:21.36  1:19.14  2:40.50  17.24
 20  25  501324 OLSSON Matts 1988 SWE  1:20.24  1:20.33  2:40.57  17.64
 21  14  292120 SIMONCELLI Davide 1979 ITA  1:20.85  1:19.87  2:40.72  18.48
 22  29  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:20.83  1:19.92  2:40.75  18.65
 23  54  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO  1:21.08  1:19.68  2:40.76  18.71
 24  28  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  1:21.29  1:19.64  2:40.93  19.67
 25  12  292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano 1979 ITA  1:20.75  1:20.37  2:41.12  20.74
 26  37  990116 DE ALIPRANDINI Luca 1990 ITA  1:21.01  1:20.50  2:41.51  22.95
 27  34  511638 TUMLER Thomas 1989 SUI  1:20.93  1:20.65  2:41.58  23.35
 28  38  150398 BANK Ondrej 1980 CZE  1:21.29  1:20.80  2:42.09  26.23
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 74  800013 TOLA Erjon 1986 ALB
 73  500656 LARSSON Markus 1979 SWE
 71  80063 LONGHI Jhonatan 1988 BRA
 68  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 67  380335 ZUBCIC Filip 1993 CRO
 66  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA
 64  53980 KRIECHMAYR Vincent 1991 AUT
 61  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 60  54063 FELLER Manuel 1992 AUT
 59  202345 SCHWAIGER Dominik 1991 GER
 58  103865 PHILP Trevor 1992 CAN
 53  511896 MURISIER Justin 1992 SUI
 52  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR
 50  193334 RIVAS Gabriel 1986 FRA
 49  180666 TORSTI Samu 1991 FIN
 47  481148 MAYTAKOV Sergei 1990 RUS
 46  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 44  930160 KELLEY Robby 1990 USA
 43  511852 CAVIEZEL Gino 1992 SUI
 42  192653 FREY Thomas 1984 FRA
 41  511741 ZURBRIGGEN Elia 1990 SUI
 39  103676 BROWN Philip 1991 CAN
 36  481006 ZUEV Stepan 1988 RUS
 35  534038 NICKERSON Warner 1981 USA
 33  180627 MALMSTROM Victor 1991 FIN
 26  510727 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI
 24  532431 MILLER Bode 1977 USA
 23  53985 MATHIS Marcel 1991 AUT
 17  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT
Did not finish 2nd run
 22  294890 NANI Roberto 1988 ITA
 16  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO
Did not finish 1st run
 72  430617 CHRAPEK Adam 1993 POL
 70  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT
 69  302564 SATO Sho 1986 JPN
 65  700879 ZAMPA Andreas 1993 SVK
 63  6290440 ZINGERLE Alex 1992 ITA
 62  400237 MEINERS Maarten 1992 NED
 57  202265 STAUBITZER Benedikt 1990 GER
 56  990048 BORSOTTI Giovanni 1990 ITA
 55  54093 STROLZ Johannes 1992 AUT
 51  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 48  193986 PLACE Francois 1989 FRA
 45  103078 DONALDSON David 1986 CAN
 32  934568 RUBIE Brennan 1991 USA
 18  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR
 15  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp 1983 AUT

 

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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