Ligety wins World Cup giant slalom race
Associated Press Writer
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia – Ted Ligety of the United States won a men’s World Cup giant slalom Friday for his first win of the season and fifth overall.
The 25-year-old American finished the Pokoren 3 course in a combined time of 2 minutes, 22.02 seconds to win the event for a third straight year.
“I just love this hill, it’s awesome,” said Ligety, who overtook the lead in the GS discipline standings. “I feel like I am always doing better toward the end of the season.”
Marcel Hirscher of Austria was 0.34 back in second. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway took third, 0.51 behind Ligety.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who led Ligety by 0.01 after the opening run, had a poor start and lost time throughout his second run. The defending overall World Cup champion finished fourth, 0.82 behind the American.
Benjamin Raich of Austria skied off course and almost missed a gate before placing 11th to keep the lead in the overall standings with 927 points. His main rival Carlo Janka of Switzerland finished seventh and narrowed the gap to 62 points.
Didier Cuche of Switzerland, a two-time winner in Kitzbuehel last week, was disqualified for missing the final gate. Cuche hit the penultimate gate with his right ski, fell and lost a ski and slid over the finish line.
In the opening run, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia crashed as he was thrown off course in a left turn. He fell backward with his skis up in the air and slid into the safety nets but was apparently unhurt.
Michael Gufler of Italy, who started the race with bib No. 46, posted the fastest second-run time and finished 12th.
Bode Miller of the United States skipped the event in Kranjska Gora to further rest his sore ankle ahead of the Vancouver Olympics.
Marcus Sandell of Finland returned to the World Cup circuit as one of the pre-race forerunners. Sandell had his left kidney removed after badly crashing at preseason training in Austria in September.
Another giant slalom race in Kranjska Gora is scheduled for Saturday, followed by a slalom the day after.
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