USA's Ligety primed for Sochi; Wins SC in Wengen
Courtesy of www.fisalpine.com
Wengen, Switzerland (Sportsnetwork.com) - The first super combined of the season proved a great success as in an exciting downhill battle Ted Ligety clenched his 20th career Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory. Despite being the 2006 Olympic combined gold medalist and 2013 World Champion in super combined, Ligety has never won in World Cup in any other discipline than giant slalom.
"It's nice to win a super combined finally. I've only done so in big events, which is a nice thing to do, but it would have been good to win a World Cup before now," Ligety said.
This also ends an unfortunate series of DNFs which he earned in Adelboden.
"To get this win is a nice confidence booster and it feels really good because January has been a rough month for me so far so its nice to turn the corner on that one," he explained.
"It was tough today. There was a lot of snowfall but they groomed the track and it was not the greatest snow to ski downhill on, but I feel lucky that we had good light. In downhill if I don't feel confident enough to go hard I let myself go slow so I can see where I'm going. I was lucky in the morning running first because I got a super smooth course and that helped me relax and stay enough ahead of the downhill guys despite not skiing a fantastic run. I had a great downhill run and feel lucky that I can nab Alexis on this one because he is one of the best competitors out there."
Last year's winner Alexis Pinturault was leading 1.22 seconds ahead of Ligety after the slalom, but despite skiing a really strong downhill run, it was not fast enough to hold on to his leading place. He finished second, a mere 0.22 seconds behind Ligety.
"This is both a lost victory and a fantastic second place," Pinturault said.
"This race is not like a GS or SL, it's a specific downhill combined to a difficult slalom so if you are stronger in slalom like me, you have to fully attack it. Than in the downhill I only had to avoid making any mistakes and see where that gets me. In the end Ligety was just too strong for me in the downhill. I tried to make a good DH, it was a nice one for me, maybe on some sections I could have been faster but I am second and I'm really happy about that. Now I have to focus on the slalom, I know I can do well here," he continued.
Natko Zrncic-Dim has been struggling this season to find his form but this morning some piece of the puzzle fell back in place as he skied a great slalom run and kept his momentum into the downhill, despite not doing so well in the training runs.
"This result is great," the Croatian exclaimed after realizing this would be his first podium in three years.
I'm glad that I skied an excellent slalom and then the downhill was good too, I am happy to be back on the podium. It's different when you ski a normal downhill, which is two and a half minutes long, or this one, which is almost a minute shorter. It immediately changes things. I skied better today and I am very satisfied.
A podium today was far from what Zrncic-Dim expected today...
"I secretly hoped I could do well, but I knew, even after the slalom that there are very good guys today and that anything could have happened in the downhill, nevertheless I gave it all and I made it!
It's has been a busy morning for the Organizers here in Wengen as a heavy overnight snowfall had to be pushed of the racing course in time for today's 10.30 start of the super combined.
The original super combined schedule saw the downhill taking place in the morning, followed by the slalom but the Jury made an early decision on Wednesday to invert the disciplines due to the expected snowfall. This morning the decision proved to be the right as both courses were covered by over 20 centimeters of fresh snow.
Luckily, with a lot of help by the volunteers, the Swiss Army and the prompt reaction by the organizer, the slalom course was mostly cleaned off by the time the first racer started at 10.30 and Wengen once again delivered a fantastic race.
01/17 11:32:04 ET