Ted Ligety‘s bid to win a third straight World Cup giant slalom season title is all but over after Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher won in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday.
Hirscher prevailed by a massive 3.28 seconds over two runs, the largest margin of victory in a men’s World Cup race in more than 35 years, according to ski-db.com.
“I risked everything,” Hirscher said, “but I won everything.”
German Felix Neureuther was second. Ligety was fourth and tipped his cap.
“Impressive piece of skiing,” he told media in Germany.
Ligety dropped to 188 points behind Hirscher in the World Cup giant slalom standings with two races left. A victory nets 100 points. The top 30 skiers earn points on a descending scale, giving Ligety almost no chance of overtaking Hirscher.
Hirscher notched his 30th World Cup victory and increased his overall standings lead. The 25-year-old is in line to win a fourth straight World Cup overall title, something no man has ever done.
Ligety captured the season’s biggest giant slalom, the World Championship in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Feb. 13. But Hirscher has won five of six World Cup giant slalom races this season.
“It was not the greatest year,” Ligety said, “but we salvaged it with the World Championships. That’s at least one bright spot.”
Hirscher also denied Ligety’s bid for a third straight World Cup giant slalom title in 2012. On Sunday, he moved into solo third among Austrian men in all-time World Cup wins. Hermann Maier won 54 races, and Benjamin Raich is at 36.
One must wonder if Ligety can reclaim the World Cup giant slalom title from Hirscher next season. Yes, Ligety is skiing with four screws in his left hand from a November training injury.
But he’s also five years older than Hirscher. Ligety’s only victories this season came on U.S. snow. The World Cup circuit is primarily run in Europe.
And though Ligety hasn’t lost an Olympics or Worlds giant slalom since 2010, he barely kept his World Cup giant slalom title in 2014, by .01 of a second and a points tiebreaker at the World Cup Finals last March.
The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill and super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway, next Saturday and Sunday.