Marcel Hirscher holds off Ted Ligety, passes Austrian legend

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Ted Ligety finished second in a World Cup giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday, improving from seventh place after the first of two runs, beaten only by Austrian Marcel Hirscher.

Hirscher, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, won by 1.45 seconds over two runs. Ligety, the Olympic giant slalom champion, was 1.33 behind after the first run and passed six men with the fourth-fastest second run. France’s Thomas Fanara was third, 1.48 back overall.

“I’m super happy because my training was definitely really bad,” Hirscher said a few minutes after crossing the finish line, pointing his index fingers in the air and slapping his chest. “Give me a second to get more breath.”

Hirscher won his 27th career World Cup race, moving into a tie for ninth on the all-time list. He passed Austrian legend Franz Klammer. The men’s record is 86 wins, held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark. The top Austrian is Hermann Maier, second to Stenmark with 54.

Those records might not be threatened by Hirscher, although he is just 25. Hirscher, who closed to within 70 points of World Cup overall leader Kjetil Jansrud on Sunday, has said he can’t imagine racing through to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Ligety, 30, finished in the top two for a third straight World Cup giant slalom race after an uncharacteristic 10th-place showing in the season opener in Soelden, Austria. Ligety trails Hirscher by 74 points in the World Cup giant slalom standings through four of a scheduled eight races.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, on Monday.

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