U.S. Ski Team’s Ted Ligety seventh in Alta Badia World Cup GS

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 20, 2009 4:57 pm

The Audi FIS World Cup alpine tour braved sub-zero temperatures in Alta Badia, Italy today for the GS and Italian tech specialist Massimiliano ‘Max’ Blardone captured his first win since 2007. Italian teammate Davide Simoncelli followed in second, notching his first podium spot since 2006. Fellow Italian Mannie Moelgg was in third after the first run, but fell to fifth. Even so, Italy had a good day.

The U.S. Ski Team didn’t fare as well, with top GS skiers Bode Miller and Jake Zamansky failing to qualify for the second run and Tim Jitloff getting disqualified. And in spite of the sunny weather, the cold temps took a toll on the course. 

“This hill is really tough this year, it’s so icy,” Ligety said. “First run, I think a lot of guys were taken by surprise by how icy it was. I for sure was one guy. I just felt like I had no grip on the top.”

Ligety also had been suffering from the stomach flu, so wasn’t able to train as much as he would have liked. ”I was doing a lot of puking the last couple of days. I’m feeling better now,” Ligety said.

Jitloff would have placed ninth yet snagged a tip at the Finish. “I just wanted to get across the line and next thing you know, I was crashing,” Jitloff said. “I felt my leg kind of get torn apart there.”

When Jitloff got back to his feet, the Italian fans gave him a huge round of applause. ”I stood up and they started clapping like you would at a soccer match or something like that, and so I figured I’d say thank you to them, because these guys are amazing fans,” Jitloff said. 

“It was a great run, I’m really satisfied,” Jitloff added. “Especially with the kind of difficulties that I’ve been struggling with in the early season here.”

The day wasn’t a disappointment for all of the Americans, however. 20 year-old Tommy Ford impressed fans and coaches alike with a 24th place in only his fourth career World Cup. Scoring points is always a big goal to meet and Ford has been well on his way. ”I finally got my head under control and was able to just ski like I know how,” Ford said. “I was a little bit hesitant the first run, but now I know I can get in there and charge.”

Ford’s top 30 finish notched the entire U.S. Ski Team another starting spot for World Cup GS events. (There are now six spots.)

Tomorrow the men take to the slalom, with Ligety, Miller, Jitloff, Jimmy Cochran and World Cup rookie albeit U.S. National Slalom Champion David Chodounsky set to start.

Top 5 from today as follows:

1. Massimiliano Blardone, Italy, 2:35.76
2. Davide Simoncelli, Italy, 2:39.19
3. Cyprien Richard, France, 2:37.39
4. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 2:37.46
5. Manfred Moelgg, Italy, 2:37.72 

photo: USSA