Alpine skiing: Ligety outclasses opposition in Alta Badia

Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:16pm EST
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By Patrick Lang

ALTA BADIA, Italy (Reuters) - Ted Ligety outclassed his rivals again with a comfortable victory in the classic Italian giant slalom of Alta Badia on Sunday.

The world champion won his third giant slalom of the season in a combined time of two minutes and 37.27 seconds, 2.04 ahead of Austrian Marcel Hirscher.

While the gap was not as emphatic as Ligety's 2.75-second margin of victory in October's season opener in Soelden, it required a great second run by overall World Cup champion Hirscher to limit the damage.

Third-placed Frenchman Thomas Fanara trailed Ligety by 3.27 while German Fritz Dopfer was fourth, 4.22 off the pace.

The record margin of victory in a men's World Cup race stands at 4.06 seconds by Ingemar Stenmark in 1978 and Ligety, who also won in Alta Badia two years ago, has drawn comparisons with the Swede considered to be the best giant slalom specialist ever.

Ligety, who led by an impressive 2.40 after the first leg, conceded the shadow of Stenmark had weighed heavily on his performance in the afternoon.

"It's crazy. I was amazed, I couldn't understand leading by such a margin after the first run," the 28-year-old told reporters.

"In the second, I must admit I had the Stenmark record at the back of my mind. I wanted to ski aggressive but at the same time, I wanted to win the race," he said.   Continued...

Ted Ligety of the U.S. celebrates on podium after winning the men's World Cup giant slalom race in Alta Badia, northern Italy, December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo