A record 6th victory for Ligety in Kranjska Gora
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 are the years when Ted Ligety walked away from the Kranjska Gora finish area with the best time of the day. After a nearly perfect first run, the Olympic gold medalist from Sochi held on to his lead and became the become the first man in World Cup history to win six races in any one discipline at any venue.
“This is definitely a really cool hill. It has so much personality and it’s really a fun hill to ski. It has the steep parts. It has some rolls. It has a little bit of a gliding section. So it’s a true GS skier’s hill,” Ligety explained why Kranjska Gora suited him so well.
“I just try to stay ahead of the rut as always. I’m not the kind of person that tires to cut off line, so I just tried to ski smart and be clean as much as I could,” Ligety explained his plan for dealing with the softening course in the second run.
Seeing Ligety’s name on top of the result list is no surprise, but two unexpected names made their way in 2nd and 3rd position – Benjamin Raich and Henrik Kristoffersen finished 0.18 and 0.25 seconds behind the winner respectively.
Raich hasn’t stood on the podium in giant slalom since his 2nd place in Adelboden 2012 and was far from one of the podium favorites after the first run as he was sitting in 17th place. But this hill has suited him in the past and he has won four giant slalom races on it during his career so with a spectacular second run he was able to move up 15 places.
“I’m very happy, it was a goal for me to get a podium finish, I believed I could ski well enough,” Raich said.
“My first run was not all that good but I knew that in these conditions anything could be possible. Maybe I didn’t really think I could make it all the way on the podium and that is quite a surprise,” he added.
Henrik Kristoffersen has been on a roll in the past few weeks earning a bronze Olympic medal in slalom, two Junior World Championships gold ones in slalom and giant slalom and earning his first World Cup giant slalom podium today in Kranjska Gora.
“I was hoping I could be top five maybe, but to be on the podium is pretty amazing,” an excited Kristoffersen said.
“I knew I could do it, I was in a great position after the first run. I did a small mistake in the second one, it cost me some time but I am still very happy with how things turned out. I have always said that GS is as important as slalom for me so it was important to get it going,” he explained.
There is only one more GS scheduled this winter and the battle for the discipline title is still open, Marcel Hirscher is currently leading 50 points ahead of Ligety.
“Now the GS title isn’t so far away, but it’s still kind of far away with the mistakes I’ve made so far this year. I’m just skiing race to race and wins are always important even if they don’t go for the title,” Ligety said.
Things are also interesting on the Overall front as Svindal holds a 41 points lead ahead of Hirsher. It will certainly make the Finals in Lenzerheide very exciting!