Ligety gets back on track with eight-place slalom result
WENGEN, Switzerland – Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, was eighth and Jimmy Cochran of Keene, N.H., took 12th, getting back on track in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom in Wengen on Sunday.
“It just takes a little confidence,” said Ligety, who had been training well in slalom, but struggling to finish two solid runs. “The slalom is just so quick, there’s just so many different things coming at you that you have to have the confidence just to go at it full speed, and I think this will kind of help me go that way.”
Cochran’s only detour from the slalom points this season was last weekend in Adelboden. But he carried steam from a calendar year opening 25th in Zagreb to follow his third best slalom result ever, ninth in Alta Badia, Italy before Christmas.
“It felt great. It felt solid,” Cochran said. “I think I probably could have been a little faster, but it’s great for me.”
“For both those guys, the goal was to get to the finish and score some World Cup points, and they did that, so it’s a mission accomplished today,” said U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Sasha Rearick.
Bode Miller of Franconia, N.H., made a tactical error that sent him off course in the first run of the event, won by Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic.
“We’ve still got some work to do, but he’s coming to form,” Rearick said of the two-time World Cup overall champion. “It was great to have him back on the top of the podium in Friday’s super combined and we also had Ted in there with fifth. This team needed to work on some super combined points and these guys got the job done.”
“I felt like it was a good weekend,” Ligety said. “I’ve been struggling to get to the bottom in slalom, and I felt like this was a major step in the right direction. Eighth place is really not my goal for every race, but it’s definitely a good steppingstone.”
Ligety was fifth-fastest on his second run after a first run that he called “safe.”
“This is, in my mind, the coolest slalom hill on the World Cup tour,” he said. “It has the farm house in the middle of the course, it has a lot of terrain. And a lot of courses have a lot of terrain, but this one has a good flow to the terrain. It just kind of matches up with the slalom tempo and makes it really challenging.”
Ligety said he’s looking forward to a different experience in these Olympics from Torino, where he won the combined gold medal in 2006.
“In a way I’m kind of coming in under the radar again, because (Lindsey Vonn) is kind of dominating so hard on that side, but it’s definitely different this time around,” he said. “I feel like I’m challenging in four events. I have a decent chance in every event I’m going to be racing.”
Struggles followed his Olympic glory in 2006, but Rearick says Ligety rediscovered his formula for success.
“The 2007 season, he went back to the fundamentals of what made him good: work ethic, training, not testing skis all the time, working on his ski, and he went out and worked really hard in the gym, pushed really hard on just keeping equipment simple, and next year he won the GS title,” Rearick said.
The two-hour flight time from his home town Park City to Vancouver also gives Ligety reason to relish these games, where his friends and family will be plentiful.
“It’s nice taking the Euros out of Europe,” Ligety said. “They can go home every couple days when they’re on the World Cup tour, and it’s nice to have them living out of their duffle bags, like we do, for a little while. That’s huge for us, because those guys are always complaining when they’re over in North America, so it’s good to kind of take them out of their element a little bit.”
Ligety and Co. have their passports at the ready for more European trekking with myriad speed and technical events in Kitzbuehel, Austria; Schladming, Austria; and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, before the Olympic break.
“Next week is a big week because it’s the last weekend of qualifications for downhill, super G and slalom,” Rearick said.
2010 AUDI FIS WORLD CUP
At Wengen, Switzerland
Jan. 17, Men’s Slalom
1. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 1:40.34
2. Andre Myhrer, Sweden, 1:40.63
3. Reinfried Herbst, Austria, 1:40.85
4. Benjamin Raich, Austria, 1:41.04
5. Julien Lizeroux, France, 1:41.05
8. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, 1:41.40
12. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, N.H., 1:41.89
DNQ: Tim Jitloff, Reno.
DNF-1: Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H., David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colo.