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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 30, 2010

Skiing: Hirscher wins World Cup giant slalom, Ligety third


ERIC WILLEMSEN
Associated Press Writer

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia Marcel Hirscher of Austria won a World Cup giant slalom Saturday, while Ted Ligety finished third on a bumpy course the day after his victory in this same event.

Hirscher earned his second win of the season with a flawless second run on the Podkoren 3 course to finish in a combined time of 2 minutes, 31.30 seconds.

"It's still nice to make it to the podium again," said Ligety, who won the past three GS's on the Podkoren course. "I felt pretty bad the whole way down in the first run. It was hard to find the rhythm. The snow is pretty bumpy."

With one World Cup giant slalom remaining, Ligety leads the discipline standings with 352 points.

Hirscher was 0.47 seconds back in fifth after the opening leg.

"It's unbelievable, just awesome," said the 20-year-old Hirscher, who won his first career title in December a GS in Val d'Isere, France. "I think this was maybe the best giant slalom run I've ever had. The other guys were fast as well, so I didn't believe I could still win it."

Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, who led going into the final run, was 0.45 back in second for his best career World Cup result.

Ligety was more satisfied with his final run.

"I was pretty happy with the way I skied," he said. "But Hirscher just killed the bottom part of the course. He won 0.6 or 0.7 of a second on all the top guys there."

Hirscher said he charged hard to put extra pressure on the four skiers behind him.

"I went full risk. Skiing without risks isn't fun for me," Hirscher said. "I am small, so I have to risk everything to be as fast as the taller guys."

Ligety said the Austrian could become a serious competitor for the overall title soon.

"It's crazy to see how he's evolved from just being a slalom skier a couple of years ago to an even better GS skier now," Ligety said. "He is a phenomenal skier and he will be an overall contender pretty soon."

Benjamin Raich of Austria finished sixth and extended his lead in the overall standings over ninth-place Carlo Janka of Switzerland, 967-897.

"My run definitely wasn't the best," Raich said. "At the moment I haven't got the feeling for really fast turns. I am not too fresh after racing for so many weeks."

Janka was third after the opening leg but seemed to hold back and avoid risks in his second run, posting only the 23rd run time.

The event will end with a slalom on Sunday, the final race ahead of the Vancouver Olympics.