Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ligety holds onto GS lead as World Cup resumes

Photo by Mitchell Gunn/ESPA U.S. Ski Team racer Ted Ligety races down the course in the Alpine FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom race Feb. 24 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

In this first World Cup race after taking triple gold at the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria, 28-year-old U.S. technical racing star Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah finished third in Sunday’s men’s giant slalom at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germ.

Ligety has now finished on the podium of all six Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom races this season with four victories and two third places. He leads the giant slalom discipline standings 520-415 over Austrian Marcel Hirscher. Frenchman Alexis Pinturault posted his first career GS win ahead of Hirscher on Sunday.

The men's tour now moves to Kvitfjell, Norway for a downhill and a super G. Ligety and teammate Tim Jitloff will head to Sochi, Russia to train on the 2014 Olympic venue prior to the Kvitfjell races.

Ligety said, “Third place is not what you want to be getting at this stage, but I’ll take it. In the first run I just made a ton of little mistakes and in the second I was lucky not to get into too much soft snow.

Saturday at Garmisch, veteran Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley, Ca. was 19th to lead the U.S. Ski Team in a shortened World Cup downhill.

Birds of Prey downhill champion Christof Innerhofer of Italy claimed his third win of the season. The race course was shortened after heavy snow covered the Kandahar course overnight making track preparation of the upper section difficult.

Hirscher continues to lead the men’s World Cup overall standings with 1,215 points, with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal second at 1,006. Germany’s Felix Neureuther (798) pulled a couple of points ahead of fourth-place Ligety in the overall ranks.


Women at Meribel, France

Less than a second separated the top 17 finishers in Saturday's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup women's downhill at Meribel, France.

Julia Mancuso, 28, of Squaw Valley led the way for the U.S. Ski Team with 13th, .90 behind surprise winner Carolina Ruiz Castillo of Spain. It was a historic first World Cup downhill victory for Spain and the first podium of any kind since 2006.

On Sunday at Meribel, world championship super G bronze medalist Mancuso ripped to second in the downhill half of the super combined but dropped to fourth place overall after hooking up in the soft snow of the slalom portion.

Tina Maze of Slovenia took the win—her eighth on the season—to boost her World Cup point total to 1,844 and clinch the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall title a full three weeks and nine races before the end of the 2012-13 season.

Mancuso said, “In places we got like two feet of snow last night. It was really soft so those slalom athletes definitely had a good advantage with the lowered downhill start and the better start positions.

“I didn’t make any mistakes in the downhill and that was my plan. I made too many yesterday, but it’s pretty hard to put any time on the slalom skiers. It seemed like we ran about half of the full length of the downhill.

The slalom was actually pretty good. I did some slalom training two days ago and things are starting to feel better there. I did have a big mistake at the top, but was able to keep it on the course.

Head coach Alex Hoedlmoser said about Mancuso’s effort, “Julia did a really good job today. It was her best combined result for a long time and that’s really promising. She had some mistakes, but she’s getting the speed back in slalom.”

The women's tour now moves to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for a downhill and super giant slalom this coming weekend.

Behind Maze in the overall standings are second-place Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany 886 points, injured  American star Lindsey Vonn 740, sixth-place slalom whiz kid Mikaela Shiffrin 638 and seventh-place Mancuso 623.

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