ASPEN, Colo. — Marcel Hirscher of Austria rallied to a giant slalom victory Saturday at the World Cup Finals.
He powered through the shorter-than-usual course in a combined time of 1 minute, 49.79 seconds. First-run leader Felix Neureuther of Germany was second, 0.53 seconds behind. Mathieu Faivre of France took third.
There really wasn’t much at stake in this race for Hirscher, who already had clinched the season-long giant slalom title along with his sixth straight overall crown.
But he skied like everything was on the line. The 28-year-old Hirscher trailed after the first run by a slim 0.01-second margin. He quickly erased that in a technically sound final run.
“Every race is very serious. I want to win it if it is possible,” Hirscher said. “Today, I knew, ‘OK, it will be challenging.’ I’m super, super happy.”
It was Hirscher’s fourth World Cup win in GS this season. He and Alexis Pinturault of France have won seven of eight GS races this season. The only other racer to win in the discipline was Faivre in December at Val d’Isere, France. Faivre’s teammate, Cyprien Sarrazin, also captured a parallel giant slalom.
Pinturault had a fast second run going before hitting his left hip on the snow and skiing off course — his third “did not finish” this season.
“Protecting the globe from Alexis this season means a lot because, especially at the beginning of the season, he was unbelievably fast,” Hirscher said. “I proved myself pretty good during the season.”
In addition, Hirscher captured the GS crown at last month’s world championships. He’s looking forward to getting away from skiing for a little bit.
His plans revolved around escaping to an island for a few weeks, just to read a book and watch a movie. It’s a well-earned break after another sensational season.
“Marcel is one of the best mental athletes out there, in any sport really,” said American rival Ted Ligety, who sat out World Cup Finals as he recovered from back surgery. “I think ski racing is one of the toughest mental sports out there. It’s so unforgiving, one little mistake and you’re out.
“But he’s able to get on the podium every single race, every single weekend. … Even when he’s not in his top form for him, he still ends up pulling off wins.”
Pat Graham, The Associated Press
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