Ligety crushes GS field for biggest win margin of season

Misson accomplished. Ted Ligety was out to show the boys of the World Cup tour what winning GS is all about at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia Saturday (March 10). It suffices to say that down the final pitch of the Podkoren 3 course, where much of the tour's best had experienced difficulty, Ligety lost time. He still won by an astounding 1.61 seconds, the biggest GS margin of victory this season. Claiming second with a miraculous recovery about five gates into his second run was Frenchman Alexis Pinturault. It was his best GS result (he did win the Moscow show parallel) since the opening race of the season, which was nice for him, but more importantly it pushed the season's technical star, Marcel Hirscher down to third and that a mighty slim door open for Ligety to regain his GS title. Should Ligety win the final GS at Schladming next week, and Hirscher finish 23rd or worse, he would overtake the Austrian. He does not hold out much hope. “Hirscher would have to pull a Ted and blow out in the final,” Ligety said, in order for him to win. “I skied really well today. In the last couple of races I've had the right amount of intensity. I went hard, for sure, in both runs (today) and it's definitely nice. It's just too bad I couldn't have done it a couple of weeks ago.” The other season long battle, that for the World Cup overall title, tightened up. Swiss Beat Feuz leads the war, but did not attend the gate races at Kranjska Gora. Hirscher did finish third, displaying his own ample recovery skills when caught running a touch too straight on a bumpy Podkoren 3 course, and cutting Feuz's lead to 55 points. Third on the list of overall contenders is Ivica Kostelic, making his  return to the tour from knee surgery Feb. 13. He finished 25th, an indicator he is not yet to full strength. His six points gained leave him 201 shy of Feuz. Aksel Lund Svindal has climbed back into the fight finishing eighth, and pushing his season total into four digits to 1031, or 219 back. With the season winding down there was a lot of clean skiing at Kranjska Gora with racers out of the running for titles and post season awards concentrating, perhaps, on technique and skiing just a touch reserved. That is not to say there wasn't full bore attacking going on from others, Ligety, Pinturault, Hirscher and  fourth finishing Massimiliano Blardone as prime examples. Matts Olsson charged from 16th in the first run to finish sixth and Steve Missillier recorded the third fastest second run to move from 18th to ninth. But the fastest runs of the day, both in the first heat, and the second came from Ligety. He is back in top form. "It's the most points I've score in GS," he said. "It's a crazy season Hirscher has had, that's a Stenmarkesque skier for sure." Gepa image MORE TO COME The SCOOP by Hank McKee Men's World Cup GS, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 10, 2012 Equipment Skier, skis/boots/bindings 1 Ligety, Head/Head/Head 2 Pinturault, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 3 Hirscher, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 4 Blardone, Dynastar/Lange/Look 5 Simoncelli, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon 6 Olsson, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic 7 Dopfer, Nordica/Nordica/ 8 Svindal, Head/Head/Head 9 Missillier, Dynastar/Lange/Look 10 Richard, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer Men's World Cup GS, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, March 10, 2012. ... It is the 39th of 45 races on the men's 2012 World Cup season, with one cancellation. ... There are five races remaining. ... It is the eighth of nine scheduled GS's. ... It is the 75th Cup race to be held at Kranjska Gora. ... The 37th GS. ...  It is the third race of the season at the site as the women visited Jan. 21 and 22. It is the 11th career World Cup win for Ted Ligety. ... all in GS. ... It is his fourth win at Kranjska Gora. ...  It is his third win of the season, the first since Beaver Creek Dec. 6. It is the 240th US World Cup win. ... and 17th of the season. It is the fifth career World Cup podium finish for Alexis Pinturault. ... the third in GS. ... And his second at Kranjska Gora having been second last season as well. ... It is his fourth podium of the season and second in GS having also placed second to Ligety at Soelden to open the season Oct. 23. It is the 25th career Cup podium result for Marcel Hirscher. ... his tenth in GS. ... It is his fifth podium in six completed races at Kranjska Gora. ... It is his 12th podium of the season in 15 completed races. ... the sixth podium of the season in GS. North Americans: It is the fourth best career World Cup finish for Tommy Ford. ... third best of the season. ... It is the fourth best of four scoring finishes at Kranjska Gora for Jean-Philippe Roy. ... his sixth GS score of the season. ... It is also the sixth GS score of the season for Tim Jitloff. Standings: With five races remaining Beat Feuz (did not race) leads the World Cup overall standings 1250-1195 over Hirscher. ... Ivica Kostelic (25th in race) is third with 1049pts. ... Ligety leads the US skiers in ninth overall with 774pts. ... Erik Guay (did not race) is the top Canadian in 16th with 517pts, Jan Hudec is 17th with 494pts. ... Hirscher leads the GS standings 605-513 over Ligety. ... Massimiliano Blardone (fourth in race) is third in the GS standings with 408pts. ... Roy leads Canada in 29th with 62pts. Jitloff finishes his season in 27th and Tommy Ford in 28th, not qualifying for the World Cup Finals cut-off of 25. Kranjska Gora (SLO) FIS World Cup Men's Giant Slalom
Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  7  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA  1:10.73  1:11.74  2:22.47  0.00
 2  6  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA  1:12.33  1:11.75  2:24.08  9.83
 3  1  53831 HIRSCHER Marcel 1989 AUT  1:12.34  1:12.16  2:24.50  12.40
 4  3  292000 BLARDONE Massimiliano 1979 ITA  1:11.95  1:12.58  2:24.53  12.58
 5  13  292120 SIMONCELLI Davide 1979 ITA  1:12.36  1:12.51  2:24.87  14.66
 6  28  501324 OLSSON Matts 1988 SWE  1:13.49  1:11.96  2:25.45  18.20
 7  14  202462 DOPFER Fritz 1987 GER  1:13.47  1:12.03  2:25.50  18.50
 8  5  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  1:13.16  1:12.35  2:25.51  18.56
 9  19  192506 MISSILLIER Steve 1984 FRA  1:13.61  1:11.91  2:25.52  18.62
 10  8  191423 RICHARD Cyprien 1979 FRA  1:12.99  1:12.82  2:25.81  20.40
 11  2  51007 SCHOERGHOFER Philipp 1983 AUT  1:12.96  1:12.88  2:25.84  20.58
 12  22  292491 MOELGG Manfred 1982 ITA  1:13.76  1:12.11  2:25.87  20.76
 12  15  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  1:13.43  1:12.44  2:25.87  20.76
 14  10  50625 RAICH Benjamin 1978 AUT  1:13.96  1:11.94  2:25.90  20.95
 15  11  191750 FANARA Thomas 1981 FRA  1:13.18  1:12.78  2:25.96  21.31
 16  20  510727 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI  1:13.14  1:12.90  2:26.04  21.80
 17  29  531799 FORD Tommy 1989 USA  1:13.22  1:12.85  2:26.07  21.98
 18  24  192665 GRANGE Jean-Baptiste 1984 FRA  1:13.78  1:12.36  2:26.14  22.41
 19  23  990048 BORSOTTI Giovanni 1990 ITA  1:13.57  1:12.92  2:26.49  24.55
 20  18  501017 MYHRER Andre 1983 SWE  1:13.03  1:13.48  2:26.51  24.67
 21  39  201702 NEUREUTHER Felix 1984 GER  1:14.46  1:12.10  2:26.56  24.98
 22  25  420148 KARLSEN Truls Ove 1975 NOR  1:14.41  1:12.19  2:26.60  25.22
 23  34  194495 FAIVRE Mathieu 1992 FRA  1:14.61  1:12.15  2:26.76  26.20
 24  30  101895 ROY Jean-Philippe 1979 CAN  1:14.37  1:12.56  2:26.93  27.24
 25  17  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO  1:14.11  1:13.00  2:27.11  28.33
 26  43  511638 TUMLER Thomas 1989 SUI  1:14.32  1:13.07  2:27.39  30.04
 27  12  180534 SANDELL Marcus 1987 FIN  1:13.13  1:14.87  2:28.00  33.77
 28  26  534959 JITLOFF Tim 1985 USA  1:14.13  1:15.42  2:29.55  43.23
 29  9  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  1:13.75  1:16.47  2:30.22  47.33
 30  33  510993 ALBRECHT Daniel 1983 SUI  1:14.61  1:29.20  2:43.81  130.31
Disqualified 1st run
 70  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 74  380290 SAMSAL Dalibor 1985 CRO
 73  680053 GELASHVILI Jaba 1993 GEO
 72  150743 BERNDT Ondrej 1988 CZE
 71  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 69  561161 JAZBEC Patrick 1989 SLO
 68  910004 DEFLORIAN Mirko 1980 MDA
 67  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA
 65  561244 KRANJEC Zan 1992 SLO
 63  180666 TORSTI Samu 1991 FIN
 62  531452 BIESEMEYER Thomas 1989 USA
 61  534507 CHRISTIANSON Charles 1984 USA
 60  561148 SKUBE Matic 1988 SLO
 59  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 58  54144 MEIER Daniel 1993 AUT
 57  990081 CASSE Mattia 1990 ITA
 55  500933 OLSSON Jon 1982 SWE
 53  51401 GRAF Bernhard 1988 AUT
 52  293550 MARSAGLIA Matteo 1985 ITA
 51  191778 PICHOT Sebastien 1981 FRA
 50  421946 KRISTIANSEN Emil Bjoertomt 1990 NOR
 48  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE
 47  51159 NOESIG Christoph 1985 AUT
 46  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 45  990116 DE ALIPRANDINI Luca 1990 ITA
 44  421859 NILSEN Markus 1989 NOR
 40  290693 PLONER Alexander 1978 ITA
 37  192653 FREY Thomas 1984 FRA
 36  561032 JAZBEC Janez 1984 SLO
 32  510997 BERTHOD Marc 1983 SUI
 31  511383 FEUZ Beat 1987 SUI
 27  191746 DE TESSIERES Gauthier 1981 FRA
 21  53985 MATHIS Marcel 1991 AUT
 16  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT
 4  50742 REICHELT Hannes 1980 AUT
Did not finish 2nd run
 42  292967 EISATH Florian 1984 ITA
Did not finish 1st run
 66  561117 KUERNER Miha 1987 SLO
 64  202265 STAUBITZER Benedikt 1990 GER
 56  511634 SPESCHA Christian 1989 SUI
 54  511718 PLEISCH Manuel 1990 SUI
 49  501384 LINDGREN Tim 1989 SWE
 41  481148 MAYTAKOV Sergei 1990 RUS
 38  202437 LUITZ Stefan 1992 GER
 35  421669 HAUGEN Leif Kristian 1987 NOR
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