Aksel Lund Svindal ensured that the HEAD brand kept on winning in the World Cup Giant Slalom. With three wins already this season first run leader, Ted Ligety, made an uncharacteristic error on the second run after having lead on the first run. For Svindal, this was his first win on the HEAD brand and also his first win in the classic Giant Slalom venue of Adelboden.
Coming into the race with the spectre of winning four races on the bounce, Ligety was very matter of fact: "if it happens, it happens and that's cool." With the lead after the first run, all was looking good especially as many of his rivals were having difficulty down the notoriously hard Chuenisbaergli slope. No racer had won the first four races of the season since 1978-9 when Swedish star Ingemar Stenmark managed it when he won all ten events. Sadly the second run saw Ligety make a huge mistake and tumble down the results.
Safely in the finish and in the lead while Ligety started his run was Svindal. Sharing the lead with French star Richard, Svindal was able to relax while watching the American along with 30,000 spectators. “This race is special,” explained Svindal afterwards, “as the atmosphere is incredible.” Svindal had spent three days in bed before the race and after finishing sixth on the first run, did not think that he had a chance of victory.
Despite having a clean run on the first course, set by his coach, Ligety was unable to relax and enjoy the run. The slope is notorious for grabbing racers just when they do not expect it. A slip and fall and Ligety’s chance of winning his fourth race was over. Svindal was able to take the plaudits along with first time world cup winner Richard. Yet four World Cup Giant Slalom races and HEAD have won them all….!
The win lifts Svindal up to second in the Giant Slalom World Cup standings behind “Mr Giant Slalom”, Ted Ligety, with Kjetil Jansrud in fifth. Svindal also rises to the top of the standings in the Overall World Cup with Ligety in fifth.
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) HEAD
1. Cyprien Richard
3 Thomas Fanara
6. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) HEAD
9. Gauthier de Tessieres (FRA) HEAD
11. Didier Cuche (SUI) HEAD
22. Bode Miller (USA) HEAD
28. Ted Ligety (USA) HEAD