Ted Ligety unbeatable in Soelden
SOELDEN, Austria - Ted Ligety is the winner of the 2012/13 season's first Giant Slalom World Cup competition. Manfred Moelgg and Marcel Hirscher joined him on the podium. With a total time of 2 minutes and 36.02 seconds, he was in clear lead ahead of Moelgg and local hero Hirscher who were 2.75 and 3.12 seconds behind. Moelgg and Hirscher placed third and ninth in the frist run.
Since the very beginning, Ted Ligety skied what seemed to be an unbeatable race, managing to perfectly handle the foggy hill in just 1 minute and 18.52 seconds in the first run. In the second race, the weather deteriotated but Ligety raced down the slope in just 1 minute and 17:50 seconds which proved his remarkable performance one more time.
After the race, Ligety was surprised about his outstanding run: “That's probably a once in a career achievement. It's pretty phenomenal! I am generally faster on the new skies but would have never thought I would be this fast. One thing that played in my favour was that I knew I could be really smooth even when taking a little longer line.”
Local hero and last year's overall World Cup title winner Marcel Hirscher felt fine after the race: "I know that everyone in Austria is expecting good results from me. I am really happy about 60 World Cup points today as I was racing against a great Ted Ligety."
Manfred Moelgg as well was very satisfied with his performance under such difficult weather conditions: "It was a weird race, in the first run the first numbers definitely didn't have an advantage as the weather was bad but that's ski racing... Luck is sometimes on your side and sometimes not. I am really happy, it's a great way to finish the first race. I was told I skied really well the steep part and this gives me a big boost of confidence."
Next to Ted Ligety, Slovakia's Adam Zampa was another outstanding hero of the day. Finishing ninth, he scored the first World Cup points for his home country since years of waiting: "I think it has been 20 years, since Peter Jurko scored points for what was then still Czechoslovakia. I am happy! I was hoping for this but at the beginning I had a hard time adapting to the new skis, but it could be that we had been training in soft conditions, so now on the ice skiing proved much easier."
With heavy snowfalls during the night, the race course could only be set early in the morning and the first racers had low visibility and difficult runs. After the first ten runners, the sky cleared up and the sun came out, allowing the later racers to ski in improved conditions. In the second run, the weather deteriorated and was in favour of the first runners.
This makes Ted Ligety’s performance even more outstanding since he was skiing in “very difficult conditions with almost no visibility and a lot of bumps”, as he stated in the press conference after the race.