January 8, 2011
Adelboden, Switzerland – Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom leader Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) put it all on the line Saturday before going down on his hip and breaking his string of three World Cup GS victories. France's Cyprien Richard and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal produced a rare tie for the win, while Olympic champion Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) finished 22nd and Ligety 28th.
There was a lot at stake for Ligety as he slid into the start house for the first run of GS on the classic Adelboden course. He came in with a three GS win streak and had a chance to be the first racer in 32 years to clinch four consecutive GS World Cup races in a single season.
Things were looking good after the first run as Ligety posted the fastest time, building a .36 cushion for the second run despite nearly sliding out near the finish. The win was in his reach as 30,000 fans echoed through the legendary alpine valley where the World Cup was born in early 1967.
"Despite that mistake right before the finish, I'm really happy with my run," said Ligety. "I'm psyched about the position I'm in for the second run and the snow is perfect for me. It's warm, nice and slushy, just like spring in Park City."
The light then went out on Ligety. As the afternoon set on Adelboden, so did the light on the race hill with the final 10 racers skiing in extremely flat conditions.
With a spectacular second run in excellent light conditions Richard, who was a second and a half behind Ligety after the first run, took full advantage of the early round two start to move up 20 spots while Svindal jumped from sixth for the win.
Awaiting potential history, the fans cheered with support and excitement as Ligety kicked out of the start. However, today was not his day. Tough light conditions and falling on his hip silenced his GS streak. As a loud sigh echoed from the crowd, Ligety bounced back into the course after letting out a frustrated scream to finish 28th.
"He went out about a third of the way into the second run and then got back up and continued," explained Technical Head Mike Day. "It's a bit of a bummer, but he showed again first run where his GS is right now."
Miller, the only other American to qualify for the second run, was one of just two racers outside of the top 30 to make the second run start list. With an incredibly tight first run, Miller squeezed into the flip with 26th and finished the day in 22nd.
Although disappointed, the U.S. Ski Team has already shifted gears to Sunday's race and begun training slalom immediately after the race finished.
"That's ski racing," said Day. "We'll move on and get ready for slalom tomorrow."
Ligety and Miller will be joined by David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) and Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) in Sunday's slalom. The race is scheduled to start at 4:30 a.m. ET with live streaming available at www.UniversalSports.com.
Here's Bode Miller's first run from Adelboden:
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup
Adelboden, Switzerland – Jan. 8, 2011
1. Cyprien Richard, France, 2:25.28
1. Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 2:25.28
3. Thomas Fanara, France, 2:25.48
22. Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 2:26.61
28. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 2:28.93
DNQ for second run: Warner Nickerson (Gilford, NH), Tommy Ford (Bend, OR), Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV)