BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Marcel Hirscher of Austria stormed back from a first-run deficit to win a World Cup giant slalom race Sunday as rival Ted Ligety struggled.
Hirscher finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 37.30 seconds to show he’s quickly getting back up to speed after breaking his ankle in August. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway was second, 0.88 seconds back, and first-run leader Stefan Luitz of Germany took third.
Toronto’s Trevor Philp was Canada’s top skier in 11th in 2:39.27 for his best World Cup finish to date.
It was Hirscher’s 23rd World Cup giant slalom win, which ties him for third most among men.
“Today I thought: ‘OK, let’s go for it. Let’s give it a try. Let’s see what’s possible,”‘ Hirscher explained. “So unexpected was never a win before.”
Sitting next to him, Kristoffersen couldn’t help but chime in. “I’m not surprised,” Kristoffersen said. “Come on, Henrik,” Hirscher responded.
It was Hirscher’s 23rd World Cup giant slalom win, which ties him for third most among men with Switzerland’s Michael von Gruenigen. That leaves him trailing only Ingemar Stenmark (46) and Ligety (24) in the discipline.
“Marcel’s a great athlete,” Kristoffersen said. “He’s making sure that everything is lined up as good as possible for himself. That’s one of the reasons he has won six overall globes in a row. Of course, he’s mentally strong.”
These days, he’s getting physically strong, too. He hardly feels any discomfort in that ankle, especially on race day.
“If you’re so pumped, with this high adrenaline, it doesn’t hurt,” said Hirscher, who was 17th during a slalom in Levi, Finland, on Nov. 12. “It is completely free of pain. I didn’t think about it. Maybe during training sometimes I think about it or feel a little pain. But it is not worth talking about it.”
Ligety was second after the first pass through the course, but he made several small mistakes on his final run to slip to seventh. Ligety is trying to get back into form following surgery to fix herniated disks in January. American teammate Tommy Ford was 10th.
– Pat Graham, The Associated Press
Powered by WPeMatico