New German hero emerges in Hirscher GS win


Marcel Hirscher got the win. Alexis Pinturault skied out three gates from the finish and a date with history. Ted Ligety finished third after mistakes in both runs. But the “are you kidding me?” result of the day (Dec. 9) in the Val d’Isere World Cup GS came from Stefan Luitz, a 20 year old German team skier posting the second fastest two run time of the day. He started 35th and was the sixth skier out of the start in the second heat, meaning he stood in the leader’s box for 40 plus minutes watching the best in the world fail to overtake him.

The sun finally flooded the French resort beset by heavy snowstorms over the preceding week and a tight course set on the steep Face Bellevarde race hill. The combination of a soft surface, GS skis with a 36m radius and gates set 23m apart caused some consternation among competitors as the previous two GS races had featured harder snow and more wide open courses. Luitz did not seem to mind, though he did seem as puzzled as any of the spectators. It was not only his first World Cup podium. It was his first top 10 and just his third scoring result.

It appeared after the first run that the race would come down to a battle between Hirscher and Saturday’s slalom winner Alexis Pinturault as both had margins of more than a second on the rest of the field. The French fans were more than ready to continue the celebration started with that slalom win and it looked for most of his run that Pinturault would succeed in taking over first place. Three gates from the finish he met disaster, missing the gate. He scrambled home to get the finish in 28th place.

Hirscher remained calm, but said he knew he still had plenty of work to do if he wanted to get his first win of the season. “It was so hard,” he said in the finish, still breathing hard from the exertion required by the Bellevarde. “That was really tough. I got the message that Pinturault skied out. What could I do but to ski 100percent?”

He attacked and though he lost time to the young German and had just the 11th fastest second run he had enough reserve to ferret out a 1.57 second win, his first of the year after four podium finishes.

Ligety, just sixth after the first run, lived up to his reputation as the GS master, picking up chunks of time on the leader before a mistake compounded into another and he faded out of contention. His run was still good enough to earn him third, retaining control of the GS standings. Hirscher, though, closed within 20points.

“Val d’Isere is always tough,” said Ligety, “It’s not a hill I particularly like. It’s not very user friendly, it’s very steep the whole way. I’m happy to salvage it and to walk away from this hill with a podium when it could easily have been a DNF.”

It was a good day for the Germans with Felix Neureuther finishing fourth. Overall standings leader Aksel Lund Svindal finished sixth to hold his tour lead. It was not a good day for the Americans with no skier beyond Ligety making a second run.

“As a team we skied too conservative in the first run,” said US coach Sasha Rearick. “Fortunately Ted is such a fast skier that skiing conservative still keeps him in the game.”

Luitz said he “had no idea,” of what he did in the second run to wind up where he did.

“I think only when there were about ten guys left on start I realized what I have done today and that my second run could be good enough for a podium finish. I felt good coming down the slope, and I am sure the perfect slope conditions and sun all along helped – but it all feels a bit unreal.”

Luitz photo by Gepa
MORE TO COME

The SCOOP
by Hank McKee
Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 9, 2012
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Luitz, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Ligety, Head/Head/Head
4 Neureuther, Nordica/Nordica/Marker
5 Blardone, Dynastar/Lange/Look
6 Svindal, Head/Head/Head
7 Fanara, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
8 Mathis, Head/Head/Head
9 Noesig, Fischer/Lange/Fischer
10 Nani, Voelkl/Fischer/Marker

Men’s World Cup Giant Slalom, Val d’Isere, France, Dec. 9, 2012
. … It is the 18th race of the 74 races on the 2012-13 World Cup schedule. … The ninth of 36 on the men’s schedule and the third of eight GS’s. … It is the 158th Cup race hosted – at least in part – at Val d’Isere. … the 42nd GS.

It is the 13th career World Cup victory for Marcel Hirscher. … his seventh in GS. … It is his third win at Val d’Isere having previously claimed a GS Dec. 13, 2009 and a slalom Dec. 12, 2010. … It is his fifth result of the year and his first win having placed on the podium in every completed race.

It is the third career World Cup scoring finish for Stefan Luitz, all in GS, and his first podium. … His previous best had been 13th at Beaver Creek Dec. 2. … He was a World Junior silver medalist in GS in 2010.

It is the 32nd career World Cup podium finish for Ted Ligety. … the 25th in GS. … It is his third best finish at Val d’Isere, second best in GS. … He has three podium results and five top five finishes so far this season.

No other North American skiers completed the first run.

Aksel Lund Svindal (sixth in race) leads the World Cup overall standings 440-402 over Ligety. … Hirscher is third wth 380pts. … Erik Guay (did not race) is top Canadian in 19th with 104pts. … Ligety leads the GS standings 260-240 over Hirscher. … Manfred Moelgg (13th in race) is third  with 150pts. … Jean-Philippe Roy is top Canadian in 35th with 14pts. … Austria leads the men’s Nations Cup 1620-1105 over Italy. … France is third with 786pts. … The US is fifth with 592 and Canada ninth with 235.

Val d’Isere (FRA)
FIS World Cup
Men’s Giant Slalom
Dec. 9, 2012

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Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  7  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel  1989  AUT   56.69  57.41  1:54.10  0.00
 2  35  202437 LUITZ Stefan  1992  GER   59.44  55.82  1:55.26  9.05
 3  3  534562 LIGETY Ted  1984  USA   58.41  57.11  1:55.52  11.08
 4  36  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix  1984  GER   58.40  57.29  1:55.69  12.40
 5  1  292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano  1979  ITA   58.45  57.34  1:55.79  13.18
 6  10  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund&
nbsp;
1982  NOR   58.59  57.47  1:56.06  15.29
 7  14  191750 FANARA Thomas  1981  FRA   58.78  57.41  1:56.19  16.30
 8  13  53985 MATHIS Marcel  1991  AUT   59.01  57.34  1:56.35  17.55
 9  44  51159 NOESIG Christoph  1985  AUT   58.76  57.62  1:56.38  17.78
 10  56  294890 NANI Roberto  1988  ITA   59.74  56.73  1:56.47  18.49
 11  20  192506 MISSILLIER Steve  1984  FRA   59.27  57.21  1:56.48  18.56
 12  21  180534 SANDELL Marcus  1987  FIN   59.22  57.30  1:56.52  18.88
 13  15  292491 MOELGG Manfred  1982  ITA   59.05  57.48  1:56.53  18.95
 14  17  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica  1979  CRO   58.55  58.02  1:56.57  19.27
 15  9  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil  1985  NOR   58.78  57.80  1:56.58  19.34
 16  25  420148 KARLSEN Truls Ove  1975  NOR   59.10  57.50  1:56.60  19.50
 17  2  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp  1983  AUT   58.07  58.62  1:56.69  20.20
 18  32  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu  1992  FRA   59.94  56.96  1:56.90  21.84
 19  30  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian  1987  NOR   58.42  58.49  1:56.91  21.92
 20  29  292967 EISATH Florian  1984  ITA   59.57  57.35  1:56.92  22.00
 21  12  191423 RICHARD Cyprien  1979  FRA   59.04  57.93  1:56.97  22.39
 22  16  510727 DEFAGO Didier  1977  SUI   58.56  58.47  1:57.03  22.85
 23  6  50742 REICHELT Hannes  1980  AUT   58.86  58.34  1:57.20  24.18
 24  41  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas  1984  FRA   59.69  57.56  1:57.25  24.57
 25  18  51215 BAUMANN Romed  1986  AUT   58.98  58.34  1:57.32  25.12
 25  8  50625 RAICH Benjamin  1978  AUT   58.36  58.96  1:57.32  25.12
 27  23  501324 OLSSON Matts  1988  SWE   59.46  58.31  1:57.77  28.63
 28  5  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis  1991  FRA   56.74  1:03.02  1:59.76  44.15
 29  54  193967 MUFFAT JEANDET Victor  1989  FRA   59.03  1:02.09  2:01.12  54.76
Did not start 1st run
   39  930107 GREGORAK Will  1990  USA         
Did not qualify for 2nd run
   65  700879 ZAMPA Andreas  1993  SVK         
   61  291145 DEVILLE Cristian  1981  ITA         
   60  320266 JUNG Dong-Hyun  1988  KOR         
   59  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier  1980  ARG         
   58  910004 DEFLORIAN Mirko  1980  MDA       
   57  561244 KRANJEC Zan  1992  SLO         
   55  50600 GOERGL Stephan  1978  AUT         
   51  511852 CAVIEZEL Gino  1992  SUI         
   50  150644 KRYZL Krystof  1986  CZE         
   49  192653 FREY Thomas  1984  FRA         
   48  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander  1984  RUS         
   47  930160 KELLEY Robby  1990  USA         
   45  103865 PHILP Trevor  1992  CAN         
   43  422304 KRISTOFFERSEN Henrik  1994  NOR         
   42  700830 ZAMPA Adam  1990  SVK         
   40  501458 LINDH Calle  1990  SWE         
   38  180627 MALMSTROM Victor  1991  FIN         
   34  990116 DE ALIPRANDINI Luca  1990  ITA         
   31  481148 MAYTAKOV Sergei  1990  RUS         
   28  531799 FORD Tommy  1989  USA         
   27  101895 ROY Jean-Philippe  1979  CAN         
   26  534959 JITLOFF Tim  1985  USA         
   24  191746 DE TESSIERES Gauthier  1981  FRA         
   22  511313 JANKA Carlo  1986  SUI         
   4  292120 SIMONCELLI Davide  1979  ITA         
Did not finish 2nd run
   33  561032 JAZBEC Janez  1984  SLO         
Did not finish 1st run
   64  150495 VRABLIK Martin  1982  CZE         
   63  320293 KYUNG Sung-Hyun  1990  KOR         
   62  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor  1985  CRO         
   53  510997 BERTHOD Marc  1983  SUI         
   52  511718 PLEISCH Manuel  1990  SUI         
   46  194146 LAMBERT Nicolas  1990  FRA         
   37  511638 TUMLER Thomas  1989  SUI         
   19  501017 MYHRER Andre  1983  SWE         
   11  202462 DOPFER Fritz  1987  GER       

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