BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) — Stefan Luitz of Germany used a powerful finish to capture a World Cup giant slalom Sunday, ending Austrian standout Marcel Hirscher’s five-race winning streak in the discipline.
Luitz finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 36.38 seconds as he edged Hirscher by 0.14 seconds to break Hirscher’s streak that dates to last season. Thomas Tumler of Switzerland was third for his first World Cup podium. Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety tied for eighth place as the top American.
The last racer of the day, Luitz made up ground near the bottom. Luitz dropped to the snow in exuberance after seeing his name in first. Understandable considering seven-time World Cup overall winner Hirscher had won nine of the last 10 GS races on the circuit entering the day.
“Marcel is the best skier in the world for the last seven, eight years,” said Luitz, who picked up his first World Cup win and kept Hirscher from his 60th. “It’s unbelievable to be faster in those runs than Marcel.”
For going so fast, Luitz thanked his dad, who just so happens to be his ski technician. Luitz was able to take risks late in the race because he was feeling confident on the snow and trusted his surgically repaired knee. Luitz was on the podium twice last season before tearing a ligament in his left knee.
“I’m feeling really, really good,” Luitz said. “To come back after this injury and win the first race of the season, it’s unbelievable.”
By taking second, Hirscher has made the top-three in 16 straight World Cup GS events. It’s also his ninth World Cup podium at Beaver Creek.
Hirscher had the lead despite two mistakes. He had a feeling it wouldn’t be enough.
“Have you seen the last part? I sprayed a little bit,” said Hirscher, who recently became a new father. “This little bit of spray was too much. … Stefan went perfectly on the edge. He made it better.”
Tumler had quite an afternoon, moving from No. 48 to 21st in the first run and then leading for a good portion of the final run. He was hoping for a top-15 finish and got a whole lot more.
“I can’t describe my feelings,” Tumler said. “Just amazing to be on the podium with Marcel.”
Tumler recently trained a day with Hirscher. He inspired Tumler.
So did rooming with Swiss teammate Mauro Caviezel, who took second in both the downhill and super-G races over the weekend. Caviezel received a framed picture as a present for each of his podium finishes and said to Caviezel he hoped to earn one as well.
“Now, I have one,” Tumler said.
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