Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Silver for Ligety in Val d’Isere SG

World Cup results from France and Sweden

Ted Ligety slid hard on his hip, but recovered for second place in Val d'Isere. Photo by Francis Bompard/Getty Images

From the U.S. Ski Team

Park City's Ted Ligety, 25, paced the U.S. Ski Team at Val d'Isere, France on Saturday morning with a second-place finish, the best of his international career in a super G.

Here's a report from Val d'Isere and also from Are, Sweden, where the World Cup women raced:

Men compete at Val d'Isere

Ligety's silver-medal run Saturday wasn't mistake-free, but the rest of the field endured worse struggles

"He's a phenomenal technical skier, and he brought it out today in a very tough race, one of the toughest races I've ever seen," said Men's Alpine Team Head Coach Sasha Rearick.

Ligety commented, "It never felt good the entire way down the course, but to be in second place was pretty good. It was just a struggle today, nobody was gonna feel good, so I was able to use my GS skills and have a decent-enough run.

"My super G's have been going really well, and especially a hill like this that's steep, I feel like I have a good chance."

The 2005 super G world champion, Bode Miller, 32, of Franconia, N.H., fought into a tie for ninth place with Swiss Didier Cuche, 1.67 off Michael Walchhofer's winning pace.

A day removed from a fifth place in the super combined, two-time World Cup overall champion Miller was the 24th skier out on a choppy course for a ninth-place finish.

On Sunday, 2008 World Cup giant slalom king Ligety posted another solid World Cup result, winning the second run to finish 10th in the giant slalom in Val d'Isere. Austria's Marcel Hirscher carried his first run lead to a win at the Audi FIS World Cup race.

Rearick said that Ligety's speed and talent are impressive.

"Ted is skiing great. Awesome skiing, balanced skiing, dynamic skiing - that's why he's going really fast and that's why he's making mistakes right now," Rearick said. "He skied very solid in the second run and I'm very pleased with that performance. And, he fought hard. It's a worker from top to bottom."

The team now moves to Paganella for training prior to more tech races in Alta Badia. Ligety just happens to hope his first World Cup win of the season can be there.

"I hope it's pretty soon. It's been pretty stressful so far, making all these mistakes every single race," Ligety said. "I have yet to have had two clean runs, so hopefully it happens in Alta Badia. I'd really like to win that one."

Switzerland's Carlo Janko (460 points) was dislodged from his overall lead in the standings by Austria's Benjamin Raich (486). Ligety stands in fifth place with 281 points—third in giant slalom (156) and super giant slalom (112).

Vonn moves up in slalom

The U.S. Ski Team's Lindsey Vonn, 25, of Vail, Colo. was eighth Sunday in an Audi FIS World Cup slalom at Are, Sweden.

France's Sabrine Aubert put down the fastest second run to take the win over the Riesch sisters of Germany, with Maria second and Susanne third for her first World Cup podium.

"Today I think was a solid result. It definitely wasn't my best skiing, but it was solid," Vonn said. "But I'm happy to make it to the finish, especially after Aspen (a slalom DNF), to get a solid race under my belt."

Vonn was sitting with an eighth from her first run and, as the fog settled over the course in the second run, she entered the start house almost two seconds behind the leader.

According to the World Champion, the fog in combination with course wear and tear made it difficult to make up time.

"It was tough conditions, especially in the second run. The course conditions broke down and it was also really foggy so it made it tough to ski aggressively," Vonn said. "It was really foggy and it made it especially difficult because there were some pretty good ruts developing and you didn't know when you were going to hit it and where you were going to hit it."

One other U.S. woman turned it around for the second run as Sun Valley native Hailey Duke of Boise raced to 27th for a spot in the points.

Now with the Are series behind her, Vonn is looking forward to traveling to Val d'Isere to garner what she hopes will be more successes in the speed disciplines over the week of Dec. 15-20.

"I'm really excited about some more speed races. Speed has been going really well for me, so hopefully I'll get to have another good race." Vonn said.

In the overall standings, Maria Riesch (441) used the Are weekend to overtake second-place Vonn (421) for the early-season leadership. Riesch (225) is the slalom leader after three events and downhill leader Vonn is sixth in slalom with 112 points.

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