If the win in Beaver Creak was huge, then Ted Ligety’s second win in as many weeks was immense. As the Alpine World Cup season rolled back into Europe with the Men in Val d’Isere, American Ted Ligety let his HEAD skis batter the rest of the field into submission by over a second. And things got even better as Aksel Lund Svindal made it another HEAD double HEADer in taking second place with the Max Blardone taking third. Kjetil Jansrud added further gloss to the HEAD result by taking tenth place overall.
This was the bronze medal winner from the 2009 World Championships and defending World Cup Champion’s seventh World Cup win and he said afterwards: “"It's a surprising day for sure. It's the hardest race I had for a long time," said Ligety, "To make it down and win with such a gap is just amazing. The key here is just not to make mistakes and to push hard. If you charge on, you have a chance to win."
The other top racers were full of praise for Ligety with Italian Blardone describing Ligety’s carving style as best suited to the technical hills like the Face de Bellvarde in Val d’Isere and Ligety’s HEAD teammate Svindal agreed that Ligety was in a class of his own at the moment. It could have been so different for Svindal as he was attacking hard on the first run before a mistake cost him dear. Despite this he was only two tenths behind the American after the first run. Svindal joked. “Ted has been very clean, no mistakes, at least from what I can see. It’s hard to pull off runs without mistakes when you’re really pushing the pedal. I’m impressed, actually … very impressed. But I don’t think that he’s unbeatable. I like to think that we can at least have one race.”
The tough conditions pushed the racers to their very limits: Didier Cuche lay down after the race and tried to stretch out the aches and pains in his back and legs caused by the rigours of the course. Freestyle skier turned racer Jon Olsson was unable to add to his growing reputation as he missed a gate on the first run.
Svindal’s second place has also given him the lead in the Overall World Cup; Ligety, with a perfect score in Giant Slalom, leads in the discipline and is just 15 points behind Svindal in the Overall race. And what does Ted put his success down to: "I've been close in a lot of these types of races before. This time around I'm just not making mistakes," he said, then gave a nod to his HEAD skis technician Alex Martin. "The Head skis seem to be running really well. Alex has been awesome. He's definitely a good tech to have."
The Women’s Super G in St Moritz was cancelled after six racers due to high winds.
Results from the HEAD racers:
1. Ted Ligety (USA) HEAD
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
3. Max Blardone (ITA)
10. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
13. Gauthier de Tessieres (FRA) HEAD
18. Truls Ove Karlssen (NOR) HEAD
28. Florian Eisath (ITA) HEAD
29. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD