Ted Ligety Wins Gold in World Cup GS

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 28, 2009 7:45 am

Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) rocketed from third place after his first run to World Cup gold in the giant slalom today in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. It’s his first gold of the season (the fourth of his career), and it didn’t come easily. Swiss star Didier Cuche and Italy’s Massimiliano Blardone skied clean, fast runs, yet settled for the second and third spots on the podium.

Ligety’s rally is remniscent of last season, when he won on the same hill. “This year has been tough, and to come to Kranjska Gora is always an awesome experience. It’s been such a good hill for me for so long," Ligety said. "My coach set the second run and it was just how I like it. I like those big sweeping turns. I had a couple of bobbles along the way, but I’m really happy."

In spite of Ligety’s many podiums, the win keeps him in third for the season’s GS standings, as Cuche is still 73 points ahead in the lead. (Austrian Benjamin Raich holds the second slot, just 21 points behind Cuche.) "I’m still a long way off. It’s going to be hard to make up so many points on Cuche. I’m happy with the day, but I’m not really figuring the red (leader) bib anymore," Ligety said.

“After last week’s performance, to step up and win a race is amazing," Men’s Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick said. "Cuche is skiing really hot, so to go out and catch him took a lot of effort and a lot of risk."

Rearick added that American coaches capitalized on the opportunity to set the course, and did so in a way that would lend Ligety his best shot at a win. "We set the second run really turny, to try to give Ted an opportunity to shine at his skill, and he skied super," said Rearick.

Fellow American and recent top-five finisher (at Sestriere last week) Tim Jitloff (Truckee, CA) just missed qualifying for the World Cup Finals. ‘Jit’ sat in 18th, which put him in a solid spot to move up during the second run. However a sharp break-over in the course spun him on his skis—not the performance he’d intended. Jitloff was sitting 24th in the standings (25 racers qualify), but the mishap today moved him into 28th.

“Jit had a good first run—very solid skiing. Second run he was absolutely hammering it. On the rolls the snow got really soft and he got spun around. He’s skiing really well, just missed World Cup Finals, but he still makes the U.S. Men’s A Team for being top 30," Rearick said.



Kranjska Gora, Slovenia – Feb. 28, 2009
Giant Slalom

1. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 2:19.92

2. Didier Cuche, Switzerland, 2:20.11

3. Massimilliano Blardone, Italy, 2:20.26

4. Romed Baumann, Austria, 2:20.55

5. Steve Missillier, France, 2:20.66

DNF2 – Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV)

DNQ – Jake Zamansky (Park City, UT)

DNF1 – Cody Marshall (Pittsfield, VT)

Photo: USSA/ Julie Shipman