Kristoffersen edges Hirscher in 1st run of WCup giant slalom
ADELBODEN, Switzerland (AP) — Marcel Hirscher overturned rival Henrik Kristoffersen’s first-run lead for another clear win in a World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.
Olympic champion Hirscher was near-perfect through the flatter middle section of the Chuenisbargli course to turn a 0.12-second deficit into victory by 0.71 over his regular runner-up Kristoffersen.
Thomas Fanara was third, trailing 1.04 behind Hirscher, who has won four of five traditional giant slaloms this season.
In an era dominated by Hirscher, the 24-year-old Kristoffersen now has 18 career podium finishes in giant slalom — including an Olympic silver medal — but just a single World Cup win.
“That is life at the moment, he is the best,” Kristoffersen said of Hirscher. “I fight with everything I had and my legs are completely gone.”
Hirscher’s eighth World Cup win this season padded his lead in the overall standings as he seeks a record-extending eighth straight title.
With 100 World Cup points for victory, Hirscher now leads overall by 365 over Kristoffersen. The gap between them is 238 in the season-long giant slalom standings.
Hirscher’s dominating second run turned a tight race — with 1.00 separating the top 11 in the morning — into another procession for the Austrian great.
The 29-year-old Hirscher’s 66th career World Cup win is 20 fewer than Ingmar Stenmark on the all-time list.
The second run was delayed by 45 minutes until fog cleared from the course. It meant Kristoffersen left the starting gate at 3:03 p.m. local time on a hill that quickly darkens after the sun slips behind surrounding mountains.
One day after being stripped of his December win at Beaver Creek, Colorado, Stefan Luitz of Germany appeared to injure his left shoulder skiing out early in his second run when placed fourth.
Luitz lost his first World Cup win in Beaver Creek for breaking International Ski Federation rules by inhaling oxygen from a tank between runs. Hirscher was awarded that win to fill a gap in an 11-month winning streak in giant slalom that started in Adelboden last year.
Tommy Ford was sixth Saturday, trailing Hirscher by 1.79. The 29-year-old American is having his most consistent season with three top-6 finishes in giant slalom since the World Cup circuit returned to Europe last month.