Ted Ligety will leave Bormio, Italy, with a 27th-place finish and a few stitches.
The American was slapped in the face by a gate in training for Monday evening’s World Cup slalom race. He then skied into 15th in the first run and fell during his second run, somehow not missing a gate, but it relegated him to last place out of 27 finishers in the second run.
“I skied relatively well in sections, I just made some mistakes here and there,” Ligety said. “And this hill is so flat you definitely pay on those little mistakes.”
German Felix Neureuther came from one hundredth behind after the first run to beat world champion Marcel Hirscher in a two-run time of 1 minute, 59.75 seconds. Hirscher was second, .36 back, followed by Italy’s Manfred Moelgg.
Neureuther was second to Hirscher at the World Championships and in the World Cup slalom standings last season and is a medal favorite behind Hirscher in Sochi.
Ligety, who last year became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a World Championships, has one top-10 in races other than giant slalom this season.
What Ligety did at the World Championships last February must be put in perspective when assessing his Sochi medal chances. Yes, he is still incredible in giant slalom, where he has won two races this season but trails Hirscher in the World Cup standings.
But Ligety, the 2006 Olympic combined champion, had never before won a World Cup or World Championships race other than giant slalom before he took the super combined and super-G crowns in Schladming, Austria.
He hasn’t made a World Cup podium outside giant slalom since Dec. 12, 2009.
Monday’s race was moved from Zagreb, Croatia, due to lack of snow. The Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom and slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, on Saturday and Sunday.
1. Felix Neureuther (GER) 1:59.75
2. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:00.11
3. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) 2:00.40
4. Naoki Yuasa (JPN) 2:00.48
5. Mattias Hargin (SWE) 2:00.80
6. Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) 2:00.87
7. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 2:00.93
8. Fritz Dopfer (GER) 2:00.94
9. Andre Myhrer (SWE) 2:01.23
10. Luca Aerni (SUI) 2:01.30
15. David Chodounsky (USA) 2:01.81
27. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:04.40