Ligety wins in Adelboden for the first time
ADELBODEN, Switzerland – Thrilling race in Adelboden this Saturday. Ted Ligety takes home his first victory on the technical Chuenisbaergli slope!
After winning both the Slalom and Giant Slalom in Adelboden in 2012, Hirscher was one of the top favorites going into Saturday’s race, but one costly error made him end his impressive streak of podium placements.
Leading after the first run, the Austrian was having an equally outstanding second run, leading with over a second thought most of it, until with just a few gates left until the finish line, he caught an edge that sent him crashing into a gate and completely off line. He finished in 16th place.
In second and third place two German skiers – Fritz Dopfer and Felix Neureuther were the big surprises of the day, finishing in second and third place respectively.
Lifety was thrilled about the victory, but his first words were congratulating Marcel Hirscher.
“Marcel Hirscher won this race here today, he was ahead big time but I guess I’ll take it as it is,” was Ligety’s first comment after seeing Hirscher ski out. “ But, I have given away some of these gift victories in the past so somehow things always even out in the end. I am very happy to win here today, it has been a hill that I have struggled with my whole career and today finally I can go home with a win.”
At the same spot where Hirscher made the mistake that cost him the victory, Ligety seemed to have gotten out of balance for a moment but he managed to get quickly back into the line without loosing any speed.
“The second run was really dark and bumpy. This hill is tiring on its own and I was lucky to find some reserve energy in my feet in the bottom section.”
Two Germans on the podium is no everyday sight on the men’s tour but today Fritz Dopfer and Felix Neureuther both skied an outstanding second run, finishing just behind Ligety.
“This is amazing and my second run was really good,” Dopfer said smiling. “I felt confident and managed to keep my skiing really clean. I think this is a historical situation, two Germans on a GS podium. I think finally the hard work is paying off; we have been concentrating on the main skiing and trying to ski better in every race. We train really hard and it finally paid off, I must say that achieving this here in Adelboden in front of this amazing crowd makes it even more special.”
Neureuther is better known as a Slalom skier, but today in Adelboden he made a name for himself in the Giant Slalom books by landing his first career’s podium in the discipline.
“Felix and GS were not always best friends but today was something special,” the German said jokingly. “
Sharing my first podium in the discipline with Fritz (Dopfer) makes it that much more special. But I want to say that for me Marcel was the best skier today, I would have preferred to be on the podium with Marcel through the finish line as he really deserved to be there.”
This year’s Giant Slalom season has been a battle between two men – before Adelboden, Hirscher and Ligety have been on the podium in all four Giant Slalom races this season and even though he didn’t win today, Hirscher has all the respect from the other competitors.
“We all have quite some work to do as Ted and Marcel are in a league of their own at the moment,” Neureuther added. “Even if Marcel would have finished today I would have been really happy knowing that I am fourth behind some really amazing skiers. I like to think that if there are some guys just behind those two, Fritz and myself are among those guys.
Adelboden has once again proven to be one of the most exciting stops on the tour, with thousands of fans heating up the atmosphere and cheering for the athletes as they make their way through the last, steep section of the course.
As always in ski racing, stakes are high, differences minimal and anything can happen and today proved to be no difference. The excitement continues tomorrow with the Slalom scheduled for 10.30 and 13.30 CET, stay tuned!
Here are the results.
By Ana Jelusic