Ligety wins again in Kranjska Gora and secures fourth GS title
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia –In Saturday’s Giant Slalom Ted Ligety once again demonstrated how well the Podkoren 3 slope suits him.
The combined time of 2 minutes, 35.43 seconds gave the American racer plenty of reasons to celebrate – he scored his fifth Giant Slalom victory in Kranska Gora, the most of any racer and clenched his fourth discipline title one race before the end of the season by increasing his lead over Hirscher to 125 points.
Ligety also surpassed Tomba to move into outright third place all-time in men's World Cup giant slalom victories, with 16. Only Stenmark with 46 and Von Grünigen with 23 have more World Cup Giant Slalom wins.
Not a bad day at work one would say.
“This hill is awesome it has a little of everything to offer so to win here again is incredible and I'm really proud of it,” Ligety said shortly after crossing the finish line. “Securing the GS title one race in advance is a big weight off my back. I had an awesome season in giant slalom but Hirscher was constantly with me the whole season. Even when I beat him by two seconds he was still there in second and it makes it tougher going for the title. It was a head game when he was so close all along.”
Even though he was the last racer to come down in the second run Ligety and the warm weather and rain had impacted the course conditions, Ligety skied as if there was nothing bothering him at all.
“It's tough - racing in the rain isn't my favorite thing,” he commented on the rain. “I grew up in Park City Utah and only skied in 25 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny so today was a whole lot different than what I am used to.
Hirscher seemed a bit disappointed at first but was quick to put a smile back on his face and looked at today as not a lost GS title but 80 points won in the race for the Overall one. He is now leading 69 points ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal and his strongest discipline, the Slalom is yet to come.
“For me this is a very successful day, in the second run I was faster than Ted Ligety and that makes for a fantastic day. Conditions were tough, it was raining pretty strong and it wasn’t an easy race on the soft snow. It’s good that I am still in the lead for the Overall Cup and I sure hope to keep leading for a very long time.”
With a total of six podiums in Kranjska Gora, four in GS and two in Slalom Hirscher’s hopes to score another set of valuable points on Sunday are high.
“I haven’t checked the forecast but I hope that it won’t be raining as much in the Slalom. I think I skied really well today, as I seem to always do here in Kranjska Gora and I have been standing on the podium quite a bit here so I hope to do it again tomorrow.”
Alexis Pinturault is fresh off his first GS victory in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and today’s third place came as a confirmation that his GS skills are on their way up.
“It was tough but I am really happy that my Giant Slalom is getting better and better,” Pinturault said. “I have been able to train more and more since my surgery and I can see how my skiing has improved. Hopefully it keeps going that way.”
Spring came early in Kranjska Gora this year but it didn’t catch the organizers unprepared. With the hard work of over 600 volunteers working hard at all hours, to give athletes the best possible conditions on the course.
It’s Slalom time tomorrow and with the chase for the Slalom title still open between Hirscher and Neureuther it’s sure going to be an exciting race to watch!
Click here for the results.
by Ana Jelusic