Ted Ligety rallies to win Beaver Creek giant slalom (video)
Ted Ligety won his first World Cup race this season, coming from behind to take a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday.
The Olympic giant slalom champion, fourth after the first run, clocked a two-run time of 2 minutes, 34.07 seconds. He was .25 behind Austrian Benjamin Raich after the morning run and ended up winning by .18 over France’s Alexis Pinturault following the afternoon run. Austrian Marcel Hirscher was third.
“That first run was definitely difficult, didn’t feel like I got in the groove as much as I have in the past,” Ligety said. “Second run, I was confident I could ski the way I wanted to.”
Ligety, who won a Beaver Creek giant slalom for a fifth straight year, was skiing with four screws in his left hand after breaking his wrist in training Nov. 23.
He trained for one week without a ski pole and skipped last week’s World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Alberta.
“I don’t really think about my hand when I’m skiing,” said Ligety, who added he’s not taking any pain medication. “It doesn’t feel great, but it doesn’t really hurt that much.”
Ligety was off to a slow start this season before the injury, finishing 10th in the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26. Ligety had won in Soelden the previous three seasons. That 10th was Ligety’s best finish in four races this season before Sunday.
“After the first race, not doing as well as I wanted to, I was a little bit frustrated,” Ligety said. “That’s how it goes sometimes in ski racing.”
Ligety now has 24 World Cup wins, with 23 of them in giant slalom. He’s tied for the second-most World Cup giant slalom wins ever. Leader Ingemar Stenmark, the retired Swede, won twice as many.
Ligety said thinking of catching Stenmark is “a pipe dream.”
“Stenmark is so far away,” Ligety said. “He’s such a legend in the sport. I think what he’s done is pretty unattainable.”
The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues in Are, Sweden, with a giant slalom Friday and a slalom next Sunday.