It’s The Ted And Bode Show At Beaver Creek; Americans 1-2 In World Cup GS
It was a day at Beaver Creek, Colo. that may well have set the stage for Olympic drama in February. American champion Ted Ligety won his fourth straight Audi FIS World Cup Giant Slalom pushed by the USA’s Bode Miller coming back from a year off recovering from injury.For Ligety: No World Cup racer has won four straight Giant Slaloms since the colorful Alberto Tomba of Italy set the record 22 years ago in 1991. For Miller: It was back to the GS podium for the first time in six years. Assuming the comeback continues, it will be Miller's fifth Olympics.
Ligety had wiggle room for the second run on the Birds of Prey course with a 1.2 second cushion, but flawlessly skied the course with his usual technical control. Miller was in character, too, making his run a wild ride that had the Beaver Creek crowd roaring. Ligety’s combined time was 2 minutes, 35.77 while Miller’s was 2:37.09. Marcel Hirscher was third with a combined effort of 2:37.59.
Miller said he “decided to get my stuff together” after the first run noting the different styles of the two American stars. “I don’t do what he (Ligety) does. If I ski perfect with my technique, I think my max speed is higher than his. But, obviously, it’s a lot harder for me to ski without mistakes.”
Ligety told NBC Sports Network, which had televised the second run live, that “it’s good to have Bode back – really awesome to have another American pushing me.” Miller just said, “He’s the best (Ligety) and today has been a long time coming.” No other Americans made the second run cut.
The results set up an encore next weekend, Dec. 14 in Val d’Isere, France. Can Ligety own the record with five straight wins? Is Miller back to stay? Stay tuned.
Women At Lake Louise:
Meanwhile, at Lake Louise, Canada, the World Cup women were tackling the super G course and it was Switzerland’s Laura Gut back at the top of the podium after sweeping speed runs at Beaver Creek last weekend.
Gut, who lost her mojo in the two downhills in Canada (10th and 13th) won the super G in a time of 1:22.86, just ahead of Lichtenstein’s Tina Weirather and Austria’s Anna Fenniger.
American Lindsey Vonn continued her solid comeback from injuries with a fifth place finish in 1:23.71. It was a solid start to her road to Sochi. USA’s Leanne Smith was just behind Vonn in sixth spot with 1:23.75. Julia Mancuso was 17th and Stacey Cook, 18th.
The women cross the pond for speed races next weekend in St. Moritz, Switzerland with home snow and fans waiting for Gut.
Photo: World Cup racer at Beaver Creek (VailBeaverCreek2015.com)