Marcel Hirscher holds off Ted Ligety, passes Austrian legend


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.

Lindsey Vonn OK after fall in Val d’Isere super-G

Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon

Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill


BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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