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Ligety hopes for GS success to boost his season

Ligety hopes for GS success to boost his season

Ted Ligety couldn't have asked for a better buildup toward next month's Vancouver Games.
Two back-to-back giant slaloms on one of his favorite World Cup hills might be exactly what the defending Olympic combined champion needs to boost his rather moderate season.
The 25-year-old American says he's disappointed with two podium finishes without victory so far. However, he has won the annual giant slalom on the Podkoren course in the past two seasons.
"I have always really loved this GS hill," Ligety said on Thursday, one day before the first giant slalom, which replaces the canceled race from Adelboden, Switzerland.
Another GS is scheduled for Saturday, followed by a slalom the next day _ the final men's Word Cup race ahead of the Olympics.
"A bunch of big steps in my career have come at this place," Ligety said. "The last two years have been great for me. And I had my second podium on the World Cup (in slalom) here as well."
The American says the hill suits him as it requires the perfect mixture of technical and speed skills from the racers.
"The hill is awesome. It just has a cool flow to it," Ligety said. "It's a super technical hill but you can still attack the thing pretty hard. And the audience might not be like in Kitzbuehel or Schladming, but they are pretty passionate about skiing here as well."
Ligety, who won the World Cup GS title two years ago, is third in the current discipline standings with 192 points. Benjamin Raich leads with 235, Italy's Massimo Blardone trails the Austrian by 5 points.
"These are the two most important races for the title," Ligety said. "If you have a good race the first day, you are going to have a lot of momentum for the second day as well."
Ligety placed second in the season-opening GS in Soelden, Austria _ his only top three finish in a technical race _ before coming second in super-G in Val d'Isere, France, in December, which was his best ever result in a speed race.
"I am not satisfied. I was expecting more, especially after Soelden," Ligety said. "I felt I had a decent December but not as good as it should have been. And for some reason I always have that January low. I think my speed in the skiing is there but every single race, I've had a major mistake. That's tough."
Ligety was especially unhappy with his performance in slalom. He missed out on most of the team's pre-season slalom training after injuring his right knee at the U.S. championships in March.
Furthermore, slalom is getting more and more dominated by specialists who are focussing on just this discipline.
"It's getting tough in slalom with guys like (Reinfried) Herbst and (Manfred) Pranger," said Ligety, who competed in all World Cup races this month except for a downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. "When I am doing a downhill, they are out training slalom. When I am racing a super-G, they are out training even more slalom."
Ligety considers giant slalom and super-G his strongest disciplines at the moment. He fancies himself winning an Olympic medal in these races rather than in the super-combined race, which will replace the classic combined he won four years ago at the Turin Games.
"It's not my main goal to defend that combined title," Ligety said. "My main focus is the giant slalom. I think the traditional races are more important (than the combined). I definitely want to come away with a medal. I would feel very disappointed if I left the Games without. One medal would put a smile on my face, and the color of the medal would change the size of my smile."


Updated : 2021-08-02 10:08 GMT+08:00