Ted Ligety slashes through the Adelboden slush before bad luck caused him to straddle a gate in the final run (Getty Images/AFP - Fabrice Coffrini)
ADELBODEN, Switzerland (Jan. 11) - A stroke of bad luck zapped Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) Saturday as the four-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom champ crashed midway through the final run. Ligety, who was third after the opening run, was poised for the podium when his left ski skipped off the snow at the instant he was turning sending it flying and Ligety spinning down the course. The rare crash opened the door for good friend Felix Neureuther of Germany to capture his second straight World Cup win and the first giant slalom victory for Germany since 1973. Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) posted the best American finish with 24th. The 58th Chuenisbaergli giant slalom will air at 1 p.m ET on Universal Sports Network.
Defending Adelboden champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) was struck by bad luck Saturday when a rut bounced his left ski to the inside of a turning gate, causing the World Champion to crash in the giant slalom final run.
Temperatures in the mid 40's caused the course to deteriorate rapidly in both runs allowing large bumpy ruts to form around the sharper turning gates.
The rare misque by Ligety opened the door for Felix Neureuther to win his second straight Audi FIS Alpine World Cup and the first giant slalom for Germany since 1973.
Thomas Fanara of France was second ahead of World Cup giant slalom leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who now edges Ligety in the discpline points by 120 points.
Birthday boy Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV), who was fifth in the last giant slalom, finished 24th and Robby Kelly (Starksboro, VT) was 28th for the second World Cup points scoring result of his career. The first came a year ago in Adelboden.
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) crashed in the opening run, while Brennan Rubie (Salt Lake City) and Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage) missed qualifying for the top 30 final.
It was the last World Cup giant slalom to be held within the 2014 Olympic Winter Games qualification period. The Olympic U.S. Alpine Ski Team will be named Jan. 26.
The 58th edition of the Chuenisbaergli giant slalom will air at 1 p.m. ET on Universal Sports Network. 29,500 fans were on hand for Saturday's race.
A slalom will be staged Sunday on the famed race will with Ligety and Miller returning to action along with David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) and Colby Granstrom (Lake Stevens, WA).
QUOTES Ted Ligety I feel like I was starting to ski okay and find the rhythm of the course and then just crappy bad luck and just bounced into the gate a little bit unexpectedly. That’s just part of ski racing, but it’s a kick in the groin, that’s for sure. The snow is just really weird. It kind of pops you out in places and then is really peely and hard to get anything established in other places, so it’s really bizarre snow to try to ski well on.
Felix is skiing well. He’s one of my better friends on the World Cup tour and it’s cool to see him get a win. That’s not really a surprise. I think he’s been pushing the envelope in GS for the last year and finally put together two good runs.
Tim Jitloff The course set was really nice. I really sent it. It was a charger. Right about now is when the light goes pretty dark and I did just fine until one of the bottom rolls. Over the roll it was black and I couldn’t see the blue gate, normally you can see just the tips. So I just got a little lost and unfortunately made a big error and lost all my speed. But before then my skiing was really good.
Unfortunately this week I got sick coming in here, so my energy today is not what it should be. But I do have confidence and that plays a lot too. No question, after you get a good day like Alta-Badia, you know you can do it for real and today without that mistake I was right in there again.
Robby Kelley I really like this hill. It’s pretty mellow so I can attack it and I feel like that’s good for my style. I’m pretty pleased to be in there again, but I wish I was a little faster this run. The conditions are tough. It’s been so warm here, so I’m pretty happy I was able to do it with such tough conditions.
This is the best crowd in ski racing. There’s tons of people here and they stay to the end of every run. So it’s exciting to come down and have people cheering for you even when you’re starting 42.