Hirscher breaks Tomba’s record with 5th GS win in Alta Badia
AP Sports Writer
LA VILLA, Italy — Marcel Hirscher dominated both runs to take a record fifth straight win in the Alta Badia giant slalom on Sunday.
The Austrian finished a massive 1.70 seconds ahead of Norwegian rival Henrik Kristoffersen, with Zan Kranjec of Slovenia 1.82 behind in third for his first podium result.
While Hirscher dropped some time in the lower portion of his opening run, he was flawless in his second trip down, increasing his advantage at every interval.
“Once I felt good with my setup in the second run, I could really attack and turn on the turbo,” Hirscher said.
At the finish, Hirscher let out a big scream then took off his right glove and held up his hand and five fingers to celebrate the record.
Hirscher broke a tie with Italian great Alberto Tomba — the pair had four GS wins each on the challenging Gran Risa course.
Hirscher, the six-time defending overall World Cup champion, also won a slalom in Badia in 2011.
“Ski racing is not very often fun. It’s a hard fight, hard work,” Hirscher said. “But crossing the finish line seeing all of the lights green is fun. Skiing on this limit is a big challenge.”
Kristoffersen also finished second to Hirscher in the GS in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this month.
“It’s just that Marcel is so much better and I’m not good enough to beat him,” Kristoffersen said, adding that he got caught in ruts during his second run.
Olympic and three-time world champion Ted Ligety moved up from seventh after the opening run to finish fifth for his best result in more than a year.
Snow conditions were perfect, although as usual on the Gran Risa, visibility was difficult on the dark, upper section.
Stefan Luitz of Germany was being treated for an apparent knee injury after going off course only four gates into his opening run with the No. 1 bib.
Overall contender Kjetil Jansrud also went out during the first leg, midway down.
The surprise of the day came from Aleksander Andrienko of Russia, who had the second-fastest second run to finish 15th with the No. 55 bib.
Hirscher drew level atop the overall standings with Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who did not enter the race.
It was the 24th GS win of Hirscher’s career, matching him with Ligety for second-most all-time behind Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark’s 46.
He also became the first man to win five consecutive GS races at a single resort. Ligety won four straight in Beaver Creek, Colorado, from 2011-14 and Stenmark also had four in Adelboden, Switzerland, from 1979-82.
In February at the Pyeongchang Games, Hirscher will chase just about the only thing he hasn’t won — an Olympic gold medal.
On Monday, a parallel GS is scheduled for the Gran Risa.
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Paul Cuthbertson, a lifelong local of Eagle and Summit counties, died while skiing up to the Polar Star Inn to meet some friends for a celebration of his 21st birthday on Friday night.