ALTA BADIA, Italy — While Ted Ligety led the Americans with a third-place finish in the Alta Badia giant slalom Sunday, Truckee High grad Tim Jitloff added an inspiring highlight to the day with a powerful fifth-place finish from the 31st start position to match his career-best World Cup result.
“Today was honestly more about stepping up and saying, ‘OK, let’s do this twice in a row without any big mistakes.’ And when I do that I’m just as capable and fast as the rest,” Jitloff said. “And so that was proven. I just felt like I was on and I was doing it right. To come to the place that is the definition of giant slalom racing and throw down a fifth, I couldn’t be happier.”
Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the race to capture his second straight giant slalom win of the season.
Midway through the eight-event Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom season, Ligety and Hirscher have each won a pair of races, however, Hirscher leads this discipline standings by 60 points after Ligety did not finish the giant slalom last weekend in Val d’Isere, France.
Jitloff, who said he possibly overtrained in November, took a needed break leading up to the race. And it paid off on race day.
“I had to take a step back after Val d’Isere. I was tired, I was not fresh. I was not feeling like who I was in Soelden,” Jitloff said. “I went home in Salzburg for physical training, recovery and regeneration and I said I wasn’t going to come in until the end of the week. That’s what I did. I came in here at the end of the week and trained one day and came into the race fresh. And obviously when I’m fresh I ski well.”
Miller leads USA in downhill
Miller continued to build speed on the Road to Sochi with a fifth-place finish Saturday in the 46th Saslong Classic downhill. It was his best speed finish of the season.
After falling behind in the upper gliding portion of the course, Miller found the gas pedal through the turny, rolling lower half to nearly make up a full second of time before running out of space to finish .15 off the podium.
It was a solid day for North America, as Erik Fisher finished 13th, Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley was 16th and Ganong was 19th behind race winner Erik Guay of Canada.
Steven Nyman had a solid run going before being knocked back on his skis over a roll. He made an incredible recovery to avoid what could have been a dangerous high-speed crash.