Alpine

Ligety Leads Recharged U.S. Team

by
USSA
2015-12-20 09:00
 

ALTA BADIA, Italy (Dec. 20, 2015) – Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) led a recharged men’s tech team, just missing the podium, as the Americans rebounded from a disappointing first run performance. Ligety led the way, finishing fourth, followed by Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) in seventh, and Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) in 12th.

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his third-straight Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom, and became the only racer in history to win three times at Alta Badia. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway was second, followed by Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France in third.

Following a disappointing first run for the Americans, the athletes and coaching staff made a few changes to re-charge for the second run. Ford was first to start the second run and posted the fastest second run of the day.

“I finally let it go second run and skied really well … skied clean,” Ford said.


Tommy Ford skied to a career-best 12th-place finish Sunday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

“We made some good adjustments for the second run by the staff and athletes to find where the speed was on the hill and attack it,” said Head Men's Coach Sasha Rearick. “Absolutely career best run for Tommy Ford on the second run. He was impressive - very, very, impressive!”

Ligety and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), sat 1-2 on the leaderboard midway through the second run after nailing the middle section and carrying speed into a pair of rollers (that will be used for Monday’s parallel giant slalom) into the finish. They watched as racer after racer failed to knock them off the leaderboard.

Ted Ligety opened it up second run to take fourth. 

France’s Mathieu Faivre and Alexis Pinturault finally split the U.S. leaders, knocking Jitloff to fourth as Ligety remaining atop the leaderboard with three racers remaining. However, the victory wasn’t meant to be for Ligety as Muffat-Jeandet moved into the lead, followed by the 21-year-old Kristoffersen, and finally Hirscher, whose victory solidified his lead atop the World Cup giant slalom standings.

“I knew going into the second run that I needed to throw down a great run, because my performance to this point has just been OK and not up to my capabilities,” Jitloff said. “I was very nervous for sure, but that nervousness helped push me.”


Tim Jitloff put down a solid second run to finish seventh in Sunday World Cup giant slalom. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Alexis Boichard)

For Ligety, just getting back toward the top of the leaderboard was a major accomplishment, but he admits he still has a lot of work to do after suffering through back issues for the past couple of months.

“I feel a bit smaller and weaker than I was two months ago,” said Ligety, who took three weeks off from training to rest his back. “I don’t have any pain anymore; but I just need to get back to being strong again.”

Up next, the men tackle a new event, the parallel giant slalom Monday night at Alta Badia.

Tim Jitloff grabbed seventh in the Alta Badia giant slalom.

“I’m not really sure, like everyone, how that’s going to work,” Jitloff said of the new race format. “But it’s still a race and it has points, so we have to charge and do our job there.”

“It is going to be interesting,” Rearick said, adding that the U.S. Ski Team is heading off to a secret location to practice starts. “A lot of it is going to be on the start … it’s going to be a fun event.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won his third-straight Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom following victories at Beaver Creek and Val d’Isere.
  • Hirscher is the only racer to have won the Alta Badia giant slalom three times.
  • Ted Ligety has only finished on the podium once in his past eight giant slalom races, with a win in Solden at the season-opener.
  • This was the 13th time Ligety has finished in the top 10 at Alta Badia.
  • Tommy Ford’s 12th-place finish is his best result ever on the Alta Badia’s Gran Risa slope; it also matches his career-best World Cup GS result (12th at Blansko in 2012).
  • The men tackle a new event next, the parallel giant slalom Monday evening in Alta Badia.
  • David Chodounsky (Crested Butte), was a DNF on the first run.

Tommy Ford attacked from 30th place after first run to take 12th, winning second run.

QUOTES

Tommy Ford
I was a little conservative on the pitch (on the first run) and then a big mistake on the bottom and barely snuck in there. I finally let it go second run and skied really well … skied clean.

Tim Jitloff
I definitely feel a lot better after, not a bad first run, I think I skied well, I just went a little too direct with my line. With the snow today if you went a little too round or too direct you may feel OK, but it was very slow. Going into the second run, after talking to the staff we said ‘OK, let’s get a touch more room’ and I can ski the way I’m capable of skiing.

I knew going into the second run that I needed to throw down a great run, because my performance to this point has just been OK and not up to my capabilities. I was very nervous for sure, but that nervousness helped push me.

I’m not really sure, like everyone, how {Monday's PGS is) going to work. But it’s still a race and it has points, so we have to charge and do our job there.

Sasha Rearick
We just over-skied the first run. We made some good adjustments for the second run by the staff and athletes to find where the speed was on the hill and attack it. Absolutely career best run for Tommy Ford, the second run was impressive - very, very impressive! I’m really proud of the guys for their second run effort.

Ted skied much better today than he had been in training. Even in the first run he skied well, he just skied too round. On the second run he was a little too round, but on the bottom started to find his groove, which is a positive sign.

(Monday's PGS) is going to be interesting. A lot of it is going to be on the start … and it’s going to be a fun event.

Ted Ligety
It wasn’t that great of a run, but a lot better than the first run.

I didn’t train for three week. I feel a bit smaller and weaker than I was two months ago. I don’t have any pain anymore; I just need to get back to being strong again.

BROADCAST AND LIVE STREAMING (times EST)

Monday, Dec. 21
12:00 p.m. - Men's Parallel GS, Alta Badia - NBC Live Extra – LIVE STREAM
6:00 p.m. - Men's Parallel GS, Alta Badia, Universal HD

RESULTS
Men’s giant slalom