Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup Finals slalom and with it the 2013-14 discipline title in the last race of the season Sunday.
Hirscher came into the finale with a five-point lead on German Felix Neureuther, whose giant slalom finish Saturday denied Hirscher the season title in that discipline. American Ted Ligety won the giant slalom crystal globe instead.
On Sunday, Hirscher led Neureuther by .06 of a second after the first of two runs on a course deemed unfair by the German team director and “ridiculous” by Ligety, according to The Associated Press.
Hirscher would go last in the second run on the Lenzerheide, Switzerland, course. Neureuther went right before him and laid down the fastest two-run time. Hirscher needed to beat Neureuther to win his second straight slalom crystal globe.
“Maybe 10 seconds before I was starting out of the starting gate, I asked my physio about Felix, was he in front,” Hirscher said. “Yeah, he is.”
Hirscher lost his lead and was dead even with Neureuther after the final split but picked up .76 of a second over the final 20 seconds. He won comfortably.
The Austrian crossed the finish line and dipped into a sitting position over his skis, wagging both index fingers in the air. Despite that, he said he wasn’t totally confident during his run.
“I never expect that I am that fast,” Hirscher said. “I made a lot of mistakes. … It was a big surprise for me.”
Hirscher’s victory meant that all five crystal globes went to the same men as last year. Hirscher also won the overall title for the third straight year, becoming only the fourth man to do so.
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won the downhill and super-G titles again. Ligety won his fifth giant slalom title in seven years.
Hirscher, who won Olympic slalom silver, enters next season with a great chance to become the first man to win four straight World Cup overall titles.
He’s only 25, perhaps not having reached his peak yet. His closest competition in the overall, Svindal, is 31 and had a poor finish to this season. Svindal won no medals at the Olympics.
Ligety finished 12th Sunday and fourth in the overall standings after taking third last season. He’s said he wished his slalom was better this year, giving him something to work on before next fall.
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:07.74
2. Felix Neureuther (GER) 2:08.50
3. Mario Matt (AUT) 2:08.82
4. Stefano Gross (ITA) 2:09.64
5. Markus Larsson (SWE) 2:09.96
6. Axel Baeck (SWE) 2:10.02
7. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) 2:10.20
8. Patrick Thaler (ITA) 2:10.23
9. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:10.51
10. Ivica Kostelic (CRO) 2:10.64
12. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:10.89
18. David Chodounsky (USA) 2:13.14
DNF. Bode Miller (USA)
Final World Cup Slalom Standings
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) — 565
2. Felix Neureuther (GER) — 550
3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) — 454
Final World Cup Overall Standings
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) — 1,222
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) — 1,091
3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) — 1,028
4. Ted Ligety (USA) — 991
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) — 813
6. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) — 657
7. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) — 639
8. Bode Miller (USA) — 633
9. Matthias Mayer (AUT) — 602
10. Patrick Kueng (SUI) — 562