Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ligety skis Ligety-split
Ask his teammates and they’ll all tell you it’s only a matter of time before 20 year-old Ted Ligety wins a World Cup. He could do it in giant slalom or slalom.
At the season’s opener in Soelden, Austria Ligety won the second run, and in Nor-Ams at Keystone Ligety handily beat Sunday’s winner Georgio Rocca by nearly a second.
Ligety doesn’t care if the course is choppy or the weather is bad, he skis with the same relaxed aggression each time he kicks open the timing wand.
Sunday’s slalom was no exception. In the first run he skied to 12th place. His run was solid, but somewhat reserved. High attrition played to his advantage as lots of men in the top 30 could not solve the course.
It may have been in part due to new rules that have made the distance between gates shorter. The FIS constantly adjusts this variable to keep up with ski technology. Athletes say slalom courses now have less rhythm, with tighter combinations like flushes and hairpin turns to slow them down. Last season, the FIS said slalom racers were carrying up to 65 kilometers per hour in certain World Cup races, which they felt would only spell disaster and result in injuries. In Sunday’s race we may have seen racers adjusting to the new regulations.
Italy’s Giorgio Rocca was not one of them. He skied the first course effortlessly as did Austrian Ben Raich, who took the first-run lead.
In the second run, Frenchman, Stephane Tissot, a racer who has been knocking on success’s door skied the fastest run. He came through the line nearly two seconds ahead of the rest of the field, and stood in the leader’s position until Rocca came down 20 racers later.
Ligety started 19th in the second run.
"First run, I feel like I should've given her a little harder, and second run I let it go and that's how I like to ski. It's a lot more fun when you're letting it hang out there and you can really feel your skis bite and you're not letting 'em break at all."
"It was pretty unbelievable sitting up there [in the finish] and I started to realize, with a few guys left to go, it was gonna be a top-5 finish...and then Benni (Raich) went out," Ligety said. "I thought for sure he'd knock me out, but then he went out as well, so it was just a lot of luck played into me getting a third-place finish today."
Tom Rothrock was 16th while Chip Knight skied out in the second run. Defending World Cup champion Bode Miller skied off course in the first run, then hiked but finished 23 seconds out; Erik Schlopy (Park City, UT) skipped the race after breaking his left hand Saturday in giant slalom and had a cast put on his hand.
A year ago, Ligety posted the best result of his career up to that point, finishing 15th in the slalom. Stephan Tissot’s best slalom finish also came last year at Beaver Creek where he finished 10th.


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