GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany — The U.S. Ski Team’s Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH) led the way for his team Saturday, wrapping up the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season with a 13th during the slalom at the series finals in Germany.
Germany’s Felix Neurether picked up the win in front of his home country crowd while Austria’s Reinfried Herbst took the Audi FIS World Cup slalom globe with a thrilling down to the wire duel with Julien Lizeroux of France.
“It was a better second run. My flats need some work, but I’ve known that for years. I’m happy with it. It was fun and it was just great to be here,” Cochran said. “I really like the snow. It was kind of dark today and it was starting to get cloudy. That made it a little bit tricky. You probably don’t see it on TV but it’s a very steep hill. But I made the best of it and it’s still fun. That’s a blast to do.”
At the close of the World Cup season, Cochran, who finished 20th in the World Cup slalom rankings, said that while his speed is on par, looking forward he plans to work on his consistency.
“I wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked to have been. I feel like I consistently had speed, but I would hook tips or crash. But I felt like I skied well,” Cochran said. “The skiing is there, it’s just a matter of executing on some things. All in all, a good season. I had a lot of fun and I’m excited to come back and do it again next year.”
According to Men’s Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick, Cochran showed a lot of promise for his future in skiing.
“Jimmy skied really good up top. In the middle section he backed off just a little bit, but on the bottom he put the gas down again,” Rearick said. “That’s what he didn’t do first run and he seemed to step up from that and it was good to see him progress in that part of the game.”
Newly crowned World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) also raced, but, according to Rearick, put the hammer down too hard, causing him to hook a tip in the first gate of the second run.
“Ted was not pleased with his first run. He didn’t ski like he wanted to. He wanted to go hard, but you just can’t ski that hard out of the start on that steep of pitch,” Rearick said.
However, Rearick said Ligety’s consistency in the GS this season is something the 2006 Olympic gold medalist should absolutely be proud.
“The top seven guys in the world in GS are so good. They’re above and beyond everyone else. Ted has worked really hard over the years to maintain and be the best in GS,” Rearick said. “To do what he had to do to win and not win it by luck, just by being consistently fast all winter, it’s a hell of a job for Ted.”
It was a lucky day for the U.S. men as they were on hand to see an incredible race for the slalom title between Herbst and , which was won in the end by Herbst by a mere 22 points.
“Julien is such a nice guy, it’s easy to root for him. But Herbst skied great this year and it’s no shame that he took it,” Cochran said. “It’s exciting to be here and that race was a lot of fun to watch. We see a lot of great races but that was really awesome.”
Lizeroux went hard for the title, but his fourth-place finish was not enough to move him ahead of the Austrian. The race was none the less inspiring, according to Rearick.
“That was an inspiring race. To have that many guys skiing at that high level on a difficult hill was amazing,” Rearick said. “It was a difficult hill with difficult course sets and it doesn’t get better than that – two guys going for the cup and a bunch of guys going for the win.”
The U.S. will be represented Sunday by Ligety, Cochran, Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) in the final event of the World Cup – the team race in which athletes will go head to head as part of a team in dual giant slalom format.
“It should be fun. I think the new format should be more interesting for the spectators and the athletes,” Rearick said.
Fans can catch the action live on UniversalSports.com.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP FINALS
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – March 13, 2010
1. Felix Neureuther, Germany, 1:43.63
2. Manfred Pranger, Austria, 1:43.92
3. Andre Myhrer, Sweden, 1:43.98
4. Julien Lizeroux, France, 1:44.08
5. Michael Janyk, Canada, 1:44.18
13. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, NH, 1:45.87
DNF: Ted Ligety, Park City, UT