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Marcel Hirscher wins World Cup giant slalom

 Austria's Marcel Hirscher speeds down the course on his way to set the fastest time, during the first run on an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant sla...

Switzerland Alpine Skiing World Cup

Austria's Marcel Hirscher speeds down the course on his way to set the fastest time, during the first run on an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant sla...

Marcel Hirscher denied his childhood idol Benjamin Raich victory in a World Cup giant slalom on Saturday to extend his breakout season.
Two days after he won the Zagreb night slalom, Hirscher clinched a thrilling race by just 0.08 seconds from his veteran Austrian teammate, and increased his lead in the overall standings.
At 22, Hirscher seems ready to take over responsibility from 33-year-old Raich, the 2006 overall World Cup champion and a five-time runner-up, as the main hope of Austria's 'Wunderteam' to challenge for the giant crystal globe.
"For me, Benny is one of the best skiers ever," Hirscher said in German. "To be on the podium with him is something I cherish."
Raich, who was written off by many after seriously injuring his left knee last season, suggested he was not quite ready to hand over the baton to Hirscher.
"I still have a few years to go," he said, adding: "Marcel is so consistent right now that, definitely, he is going to be good in the overall for years to come."
Hirscher led after the morning's first run and, as the last racer in the afternoon, denied Raich his first World Cup victory since December 2009 and a fourth success in the classic Adelboden GS race.
With his lead shrinking at every time check, Hirscher hung on for victory with a combined two-run time of 2 minutes, 42.50 seconds.
Raich used a blistering second run to rise from sixth and edge Massimiliano Blardone of Italy into third by a further 0.02.
Ted Ligety of the United States trailed Hirscher by 0.14 in fourth but maintains his lead in the GS discipline standings. He holds a 380-365 points lead on Hirscher.
Hirscher's second GS win this season was his seventh career World Cup victory.
It earned him 100 World Cup points and extended his overall lead to 169 from Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who skied out in the second leg. Ligety is third, trailing Hirscher by 172.
All of Hirscher's points have come in GS and slalom races, and the former junior world champion seems a worthy heir apparent to the technically excellent Raich.
"I'm not thinking about the overall right now," Hirscher insisted. "I've already gone beyond my goals for the season."
Raich turned back the clock Saturday with a smooth second leg that was 0.33 faster than anyone else as wet snow fell steadily on the course.
A partisan Swiss crowd of 29,000 roared its approval and respect for a rival Austrian as each challenger failed to match Raich's time.
However, Hirscher ensured that he stayed stuck on 35 career World Cup wins to sit sixth on the alltime list.
The five above Raich _ Ingemar Stenmark, Hermann Maier, Alberto Tomba, Marc Girardelli and Pirmin Zurbriggen _ all won an Adelboden GS in their careers.
Hirscher appears to be a worthy addition to the roll of honor.
He also will be favored to win Sunday's slalom, acknowledging that "when you win you get a lot of energy out of it."
Ligety was second after the morning run with 0.07 to make up on Hirscher, then was 11th fastest the second time down. The native from Park City, Utah, has placed in the top four in all five GS races this season in defense of his discipline title.
Tim Jitloff of the U.S. placed 20th, 3.49 behind the winning time, to score World Cup points for the third straight GS race.
Bode Miller skied out in the top half of the first run, which 29 of the 66 starters failed to finish as visibility worsened on a cloudy, calm morning after days of high winds, heavy rain and snow.

Updated : 2022-01-29 21:44 GMT+08:00