American Ligety rolls to 3rd straight giant slalom win
Ted Ligety extended his domination in World Cup giant slaloms Sunday in Alta Badia, Italy, winning his third straight race to take the lead in the overall standings.
The American was second after the opening run behind Cyprien Richard, but the Frenchman lost time on the lower part of his afternoon run down the steep and icy Gran Risa course.
"It's pretty cool," Ligety said. "I knew I could make it up on a hill like this. I definitely had a lot of confidence after winning the last two races by large amounts."
Ligety finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 31.99 seconds. Richard was 0.14 seconds back and countryman Thomas Fanara was 0.55 behind in third, with both Frenchman posting career-best finishes.
"Ted is a big champion," Richard said. "The second run was my fault. I missed my concentration to make this mistake."
Ligety has won all three completed GS races this season with victories at Beaver Creek, Colo., and Val d'Isere, France.
"[Ted] is amazing right now," said U.S. teammate Bode Miller,who finished 2.86 seconds back in 15th. "GS is amazing to watch when someone is skiing like that."
Miller joined a throng of United States skiers and staff in the finish area cheering on Ligety to stretch his winning streak. It was a good day for American skiers, with Lindsey Vonn winning a super-combined in Val d'Isere, to take the women's overall lead.
Ligety leads the men's overall standings with 321 points. Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland is six points behind after failing to qualify for the second run.
Ligety has a maximum 300 points from giant slaloms, and has a 135-point lead in the discipline standings over Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.
Svindal placed third in the first leg, but never threatened in the afternoon and finished sixth, 1.32 off Ligety's pace.
Didier Cuche of Switzerland finished fourth, and climbed into a tie for third place in the overall standings with Austria's Michael Walchhofer.
A strong Italian team had a disappointing day on its classic home giant slalom course that marked its 25th year on the World Cup calendar.
Davide Simoncelli, the runner-up here last year, was best in 10th place — two seconds behind Ligety.
He was proud to join the Alta Badia winners' roll that started with Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark and includes Italian great Alberto Tomba four times, plus Miller in 2002.
"This is the premier GS hill on the World Cup tour without a doubt," Ligety said. "It's cool to be on that list."
Canadians Jean-Philippe Roy, François Bourque, Brand Spence, Jeffey Frisch and Robbie Dixon didn't qualify for the Sunday's second run.