Hirscher spectacular in winning Åre GS
Åre, Sweden – For the first time in World Cup history, the men got to race a night giant slalom and Austria's Marcel Hirscher was unstoppable under the floodlights in favoured’s giant slalom. The three-time defending overall World Cup champion didn't let anyone keep up with him by posting the fastest time in both of the runs, for a combined winning time of 2:30.18. Third after the first run, Ted Ligety took advantage of the course set by one of his coaches to make up some time and finished second, 1.22 seconds off the pace. Germany's Stefan Luitz rounded out the podium, 1.50 seconds behind.
First in Sölden and third in Beaver Creek, Marcel Hirscher has become the benchmark in giant slalom so far this season. The 25-year-old celebrated his 25th career World Cup victory in style winning by such a margin tonight.
“It was a really good day”, said Hirscher. “I feel really comfortable on icy courses like here and I know there is a lot of potential in my skiing and my technique as well as in my material. It gives me confidence for any kind of course sets.”
After suffering an injury to his left wrist while training on November 22 and getting surgery, Ted Ligety celebrated his comeback by winning the Giant Slalom race in Beaver Creek last weekend and confessed he was happy with a second place in Åre.
“It's easy to think of places of where it would have been easy to make up time,” he explained. “Just in the top section I lost 1.6 seconds or something to Marcel. I mean the rest of the way was very competitive. I simply struggled to get the rhythm on that early steep section, but I am pretty happy to be second place.”
“My hand is getting better, but is not perfect. I definitely avoid hitting gates with it and putting it on the snow. But otherwise I don't really think about it when I am skiing.”
22-year-old Stefan Luitz raced to his third career podium. All happened in giant slalom, his strongest discipline, and at that very specific time of the year.
“I can't explain why I always ski that well in the second weekend of December, but I know how happy I am after today's result,” said Luitz. “In the first two races of the season I made silly mistakes. Today I am happy that I could ski like in training.”
In the overall standings, Marcel Hirscher (340 points) has reduced the gap with Kjetil Jansrud (412 points) who skied out in the first run today.
The show goes on in Åre. The ladies will battle it out for top honours on Saturday in a slalom race starting at 9:30 CET.
Here are the full results.