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Ted Ligety struggles as Marcel Hirscher wins another giant slalom

Ted Ligety

VAL D’ISERE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12: (FRANCE OUT) Ted Ligety of the USA competes during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men’s Giant Slalom on December 12, 2015in Val D’isere, France. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Ted Ligety‘s quest to regain the World Cup giant slalom season title just got a whole lot tougher.

Ligety, the Olympic and World champion in the event, tied for 42nd place in the first of two runs at a World Cup giant slalom in Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday. The top 30 and ties qualified for the second run.

It marked the first time Ligety failed to qualify for the second run of a giant slalom since Dec. 21, 2005.

“Ted was upset about the start time, 9:30 [a.m. local time] start time where the top part’s in the sun and the bottom part’s in the shade,” U.S. coach Sasha Rearick told media in Val d’Isere, presumably talking about changing light conditions for the second run three hours after the 9:30 run. “He was very dramatic about how he was upset about it. ... I think he never got his mind off of that.”

Ligety’s failure to qualify for the second run meant he earned zero World Cup points for the race, six days after he also didn’t get any points after falling in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo.

Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who unseated Ligety as World Cup giant slalom champion last season, won Saturday’s race by 1.29 seconds, his third straight World Cup victory. Full results are here.

Hirscher, also the four-time reigning World Cup overall champion, notched his 34th career World Cup victory, breaking a tie with Bode Miller and moving into solo seventh place all time.

Hirscher also moved 160 points clear of Ligety in the World Cup giant slalom season standings through three of a scheduled 11 races.

At this point, Ligety only controls his own destiny to take the season title if he wins all eight remaining giant slaloms. In that scenario, the best Hirscher could do is tie Ligety (if Hirscher finishes second in all of those races), with Ligety holding the tiebreaker of most wins this season.

In eight giant slaloms last season, Hirscher won five and added second-, third- and fourth-place finishes.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a Val d’Isere slalom Sunday. Hirscher will try to become the first man to win four straight World Cup races since Austrian great Hermann Maier in January 1998.

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