Mon, Oct 24, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Ligety wraps up US sweep of Soelden giant slalom events

Reuters, SOELDEN, AUSTRIA

Ted Ligety of the US carves into a turn during the first run of the men’s giant slalom at the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Ted Ligety completed a perfect weekend in Soelden for the US alpine skiing team, winning the season-opening giant slalom yesterday like his compatriot Lindsey Vonn had done in the women’s race the previous day.

“We’ve been training here so it’s like a home base,” Ligety said after his ninth World Cup victory in a combined time of 2 minutes, 22 seconds.

The US ski team have literally made the Austrian resort their home after signing a sponsorship deal with Soelden giving them access to training facilities in the village.

The team have a house in town with seven apartments for the men’s team and seven others for the women and they had been training on the Rettenbach glacier for the last two weeks.

It was one of the giant slalom world champion and World Cup holder’s main goals to win in Soelden at last after three podiums and he did it in style ahead of young Frenchman Alexis Pinturault and Austrian Philipp Schoerghofer.

Pinturault, who earned his first World Cup podium at 19 last season in Kranjska Gora, finished 0.29 seconds behind, while Shoerghofer was a further 0.22 seconds adrift.

Ligety, who emerged as the undisputed giant slalom No. 1 last season and became an unexpected combined Olympic champion in Sestriere in 2006, is now aiming for the big globe — the trophy awarded to the overall World Cup winner.

To achieve his goal, he trained a little bit less in giant slalom in the summer to work on his super-G and slalom skills.

To realize his overall ambitions, Ligety will have to take into account the usual suspects Ivica Kostelic and Carlo Janka.

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