KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety captured a historic giant slalom victory Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, while Tim Jitloff of Truckee finished eighth to punch his ticket into the World Cup Finals.
Ligety became the first man in Alpine World Cup history to have won six times at the same venue. The 23rd win of his career also moved Ligety within 50 points of Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who finished fourth, for the 2014 World Cup giant slalom title.
The title will be decided March 15 at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
“Now the GS title isn’t so far away, but it’s still kind of far away with the mistakes I’ve made so far this year,” said Ligety, who opened a .42-second first-run lead and then held on to win the race by .18 over Austrian Benjamin Raich. “I’m just skiing race to race and wins are always important even if they don’t go for the title. At this point the giant slalom globe isn’t a huge goal of mine. I have to win and he has to falter, which is not a really good strategy. If it was anybody else besides Marcel I would say it’s doable, but Marcel is not the kind of guy that gives anybody any gifts.”
With his eighth-place finish, Jitloff jumped from 22nd to 19th in the giant slalom standings to secure his spot in the World Cup Finals in Switzerland, which requires a top-25 ranking or 500 or more World Cup points.
Bode Miller was 24th in the race and can also race the GS at World Cup Finals because he has more 500 points.
“When you think about the previous years, actually the last couple, I was in 28th or 29th, but I needed to have a great day. In this go-around I knew I needed to ski solid, but sometimes just trying to be solid isn’t really a good thing,” Jitloff said. “You need to just be free and take the risk. You’ve got to charge. In years past I’ve taken too much risk on that hill in the second run.”