The men's U.S. Ski Team had an exciting slalom on Tuesday with night race in Madonna di Campiglio. Ted Ligety led the Americans with a 9th place finish. Marcel Hirscher of Austria won the day with a 1.67 margin of victory that was highly reminiscent of Ted's recent victory in Alta Badia. Felix Neureuther of Germany came in second, and Japan's Naoki Yuasa followed in third. The event drew thousands of Italian ski fans, eager to experience the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup, which hasn't had a stop in Madonna di Campiglio since 2005! Italian great Alberto Tomba was even said to be among the excited spectators.
After the race, Ted talked about his top 10 slalom finish, saying, “I didn't feel awesome (in the first run), but I didn't feel
that bad either. I felt like I had some snap. Even though I was making some bobbles I was able to keep it going pretty well. I had plenty of grip. I think a lot of guys are struggling with grip.”
This finish demonstrates a huge improvement for Ted Ligety, who is typically more inclined to giant slalom and super G. Tuesday's 9th place finish is his first top 10 slalom of the season. Furthermore, the course was particularly treacherous with 24 athletes being unable to finish, including the other four American starters.
“It's very, very icy – even icier than Alta Badia was the other day”, said Ligety.
Coach Sasha Rearick spoke to the skiers improved slalom performance, stating, “Ted skied well in the first run. I was stoked to see him bring the intensity and stay forward the whole way down. He actually had great body position in both runs. He's been leaning back on his skis in slalom and that's been holding him back. Today was a big jump forward and he gained some more ground in the overall points.”
Unfortunately, with Hirscher taking the lead he also earned enough points to bump Ligety to third in the overall standings. Current point leader Aksel Lund Svindal did not race.
European alpine fans will get a chance to see Ligety shred in competition once more this year with Thursday's Alpine Rockfest. The exhibition dual giant slalom will take place on the slopes of Andalo, Italy. The winner will take home 70,000 Euro.