Road To The Olympic Games

Svindal, Richard in rare giant slalom tie

Ted Ligety of the United States lost his unbeaten streak in World Cup giant slalom skiing on Saturday, leaving Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Cyprien Richard of France to tie for the victory.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Frenchman Cyprien Richard tied for victory in a World Cup giant slalom on Saturday, after first-run leader Ted Ligety made a big mistake and lost his unbeaten record.

Svindal and Richard — who placed 21st in the first run — had a combined two-run time of two minutes 25.28 seconds on the Kuonisbaergli course in Adelboden, Switzerland. Thomas Fanara of France was 0.20 back in third.

Michael Janyk of Whistler, B.C., and Brad Spence of Calgary did not qualify for the second run, while Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste-Flavie, Que., did not finish the first run.

It was the first of 344 men's giant slalom races to finish tied in 45 seasons of World Cup racing.

The last men's World Cup race to be tied was a March 2006 slalom in Shigakogen, Japan, when Kalle Palander of Finland and Austrian Reinfried Herbst shared the spoils.

"It's an unbelievable race and it's fun to be the fastest," said Svindal, whose 100 World Cup points for his 14th career win lifted him atop the overall standings.

Ligety was seeking to extend his impressive start to the giant slalom season with a fourth straight win, and was fastest in the morning.

Last to race with 0.66 in hand on the joint leaders, the 26-year-old American lost control midway down and veered off course.

Ligety recovered to cross the line 3.65 seconds behind in 28th place, and earned three race points. He has a 303-265 lead on Svindal in the discipline standings.

Svindal spent much of the past two days in bed nursing a fever, and was spurred to race by the warm, sunny weather.

"You should always go to the start unless you're half dead because you don't know what's going to happen," he said. "It was plus five degrees and on the first run I felt surprisingly good."

Svindal, a two-time overall champion, is 26 points ahead of Austrian speed specialist Michael Walchhofer who skips Adelboden's technical races. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia rose to third with a fifth-place finish Saturday.

Richard got his first career World Cup win, two weeks after placing second behind Ligety in the previous GS race at Alta Badia, Italy.

The 31-year-old Frenchman was 1.46 slower than Ligety in the morning, but used the fastest second run time to soar up the standings.

"I knew that anything was possible because the visibility changed a lot," Richard said. "It's an unbelievable feeling."

Fanara reached the podium for the second straight GS, following his third-place finish in Alta Badia.

The hard-fought race thrilled 29,000 fans lining the course as less than one half-second separated the top 12 places.

Home hopes rested with Olympic and world GS champion Carlo Janka, who was second behind Ligety in the morning.

Like Ligety, Janka found Adelboden a tough course for late racers to defend a lead when sunlight disappears behind the mountains so early.

Janka lost speed cresting the steep final pitch into the finish.

The defending World Cup overall champion placed 13th, 0.58 back.

The Adelboden meeting continues with a slalom on Sunday.

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