Two years later, Ted Ligety wins another giant slalom |

Two years later, Ted Ligety wins another giant slalom

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Ted Ligety, of the United States, speeds down the course on his way to setting the third fastest time during the first run of an alpine ski World Cup men's giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Saturday, March 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia How can a World Cup win be better than an Olympic gold medal?Just ask American Ted Ligety.On Saturday, Ligety moved up two spots on his final run to win a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The win was Ligetys second World Cup victory; he also won the gold at the 2006 Torino Games in the combined.The only other (World Cup) victory in my career came when I was 21 years old, Ligety said, referring to a March 2006 giant slalom win in Yongpyong, South Korea. That was my second full year on the tour, and I was pretty fresh. Ive been trying for two years to get another one. Ive had how many podiums in between then and a lot of fourth places and close calls?Ligety finished Saturdays race in a combined time of 2 minutes, 24.31 seconds, edging out Italys Manfred Moelgg by 0.15 seconds. Italys Massimiliano Blardone was third, Austrias Benjamin Raich was fourth, and Switzerlands Marc Berthod was fifth. Didier Cuche, of Switzerland, who is in second place for the overall, was sixth, while overall leader Bode Miller was 11th. Miller leads Cuche by 138 points with five races to go.With the win, Ligety overtook Raich for the lead in the giant slalom standings. Ligety holds a 27-point edge on Raich and has a 38-point cushion on third-place Moelgg heading into the final giant slalom in Bormio, Italy.Itd be nice if they canceled it. Id almost not have to go through it just joking, Ligety said of the Bormio race. With Moelgg not far behind hes hungry and Raich has done so well, Im going to have to try and stay close. I can only get one place behind Benny. Its not going to be easy.Ligety has been rock solid in giant slalom all season, starting with a second-place finish in the opener at Solden, Austria. At Beaver Creek, Ligety was fourth, followed by a third place in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, and fourth in Alta Badia, Italy. Ligetys only blemish in giant slalom this season came in Adelboden, Switzerland, when he failed to finish the first run, but he quickly recovered, taking fourth in Whistler, British Columbia.(A win) is very hard to get, Ligety said. Giant slalom is the true technical skiers event. Its the hardest to do well.The piste at Kranjska Gora has always been to Ligetys liking the hill is where he first qualified for a second run in a World Cup race at a slalom in 2004, won his first European Cup at a slalom in 2005 and picked up his second World Cup podium at a slalom in late 2005.Its a tech skiers technical hill, he said. It has a super-steep top pitch, and it isnt too steep through the middle but rolly and technical and then breaks over to a steep pitch at the end. By the time you get there, you are worked over.

Ligety, who has grown his hair long this season, may get a late-season trim if he wins the giant slalom title.I have to cut a mullet into it that night for the next days slalom, he said. Itll be a mean mullet.With his long hair although it may be fleeting his own goggles company and a good sense of humor, Ligety has a large following among young ski racers.A lot more of them look up to me … than someone like Raich because Id say I represent the new school, Ligety said. Its kind of a changing of the guard.The men have a slalom today before heading to Bormio for the World Cup finals.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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