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Marcel Hirscher clinches World Cup giant slalom crystal globe

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With a wild ride in his second run of giant slalom, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher locked up his first World Cup crystal globe of the 2018-19 season in Bansko, Bulgaria.

In his final run, Hirscher had to repeatedly reign in his skis, looking like he might lose control at any moment as he pressed to get the win. Hirscher ducked through the finish, .04 hundredths of a second behind his Norwegian rival, Henrik Kristoffersen, but second place gave him the points he needed to grab the globe. It’s Hirscher’s fifth-consecutive globe win in the discipline, and sixth of his career.

Kristoffersen also relegated Hirscher to second place in the GS at last week’s world championships. Joining the two Alpine heavyweights on the podium in third was, France’s Thomas Fanara.  

Full results are here.

With the way the races have been running, Hirscher is expected to close out his World Cup season in March with his eighth-consecutive overall World Cup crystal globe win, as well as his sixth globe win in slalom.

The U.S.’ Tommy Ford once again cracked the top 10 for the fourth time this World Cup season, finishing the day in ninth.

The women’s tour finished their weekend in the Swiss Alps at Crans-Montana with the Alpine super combined. After one downhill and one slalom run, Italy’s Frederica Brignone claimed the win, with Canada’s Roni Remme and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finishing in second and third, respectively.

Full results are here.

Next weekend in World Cup racing, both the men and women compete in downhill and Super-G, but in separate locations. The men’s tour heads to Kvitfjell, Norway while the women’s tour makes camp in Sochi, Russia. Check out the full schedule below for ways to watch the events live.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Kvitfjell, Norway; Sochi, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 2:30 p.m. Women’s Downhill OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 1:00 a.m. Women’s Downhill* NBCSN
2:30 a.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Men’s Super-G Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Women’s Super-G* NBCSN

*Same-day and next day delay

Marcel Hirscher secures GS win with second run magic

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A mid-race fog rolled in and put the brakes on the men’s giant slalom event in Adelboden, Switzerland. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher was forced into a holding pattern, while sitting in second place behind Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen, after his first run.

After a 45-minute delay, the skiers got the all clear, and Hirscher roared back to win his fourth GS of the season.

Hirscher attacked the course in his second run to take the lead by just over a second. With no room for error, Kristoffersen dropped in, but halfway down course it was apparent the Norwegian would not have the speed to overtake Hirscher. Kristoffersen finished in second, .71 hundredths of a second behind Hirscher. France’s Thomas Fanara finished third for his second GS podium of the season. Full results are here.

The giant slalom in Adelboden marked Hirscher’s attempt to reclaim the top podium spot after he opened the 2018-19 season with three-straight GS wins. Hirscher then dropped out of the top three, placing sixth in the fourth installment in Saalbach back in December.

At the conclusion of the first run in Adelboden, Kristoffersen clung to a slim .12 hundredths of a second lead over Hirscher. When asked about having to go “all in” on his second run after the race, Hirscher explained his strategy.

“It’s always important to give 100%, and on the other hand, to have [the] perfect setup on my feet,” Hirsher explained. “And it worked amazing on my second run.”

Knowing he had to compete with Hirscher, Kristoffersen went all in when he blasted out of the start gate for his opening run. Kristoffersen was in full control of his line through the midsection of the course. Only as he made his final turn toward the finish did it appear his body was starting to feel the punishment of the mountain. The Norwegian elicited an audible gasp from the grandstand when he caught more air than he may have expected, just two gates from the finish.

Tommy Ford laid down some impressive first tracks for U.S. skiers, positioning himself in 5th, .39 hundredths of a second behind the lead, after his opening run. Ford made a play for the podium, placing third after finishing his second run with a “rough ride” as he called it as he caught his breathe at the bottom. Unfortunately for Ford, at that point too many heavy hitters remained in the start gate. Ford finished in sixth, a personal best a Adelboden, on a course which Hirscher described after the race as “maybe the hardest GS in the world.”

Also skiing for the U.S., Ted Ligety showed his grit as he battled pain to finish the day in 16th. Ligety’s health continues to be his biggest hurdle. He underwent back surgery which ended his 2016-17 World Cup season, but the five-time GS Crystal Globe winner was able to bounce back for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. His best finish this season came in Beaver Creek, when he finished 7th in the GS.

Tomorrow in Adelboden, the men are back on the slopes competing in slalom. Watch the second run on Olympic Channel or stream it on NBC Sports Gold at 7:30 a.m. EST.

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Ted Ligety leads 3 more Alpine skiers qualifying for Olympic team

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Two-time gold medalist Ted Ligety qualified for his fourth Olympic Alpine skiing team on Saturday.

Tommy Ford and Megan McJames, two more Olympic veterans, are also going to PyeongChang in the giant slalom.

They join Mikaela Shiffrin, who qualified in December, as the first four members of the Olympic team.

Ligety, 33, won surprise combined gold in 2006 and then the giant slalom in 2014. The five-time world champion has been set back by injuries since Sochi, last making a podium in December 2015.

Ligety is the top finisher on an underwhelming U.S. men’s Alpine team this season. He was fifth and seventh in a pair of December giant slaloms.

Ligety straddled a gate in the second run of Saturday’s giant slalom in Switzerland after placing eighth in the first run.

The Olympic giant slalom favorites are led by longtime Ligety rival Marcel Hirscher of Austria.

Hirscher, a six-time World Cup overall champion eyeing his first Olympic gold, has won the last three World Cup GS season titles.

The other GS medal favorites include Frenchman Alexis Pinturault and Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen.

Ford, 28, made his second Olympic team thanks to a 10th-place finish in a giant slalom earlier this season. Ford was 26th in the 2010 Olympic GS.

McJames, 30, made her third Olympic team because she’s the only U.S. woman other than Shiffrin to finish in the top 30 of a giant slalom this season.

McJames was 30th and 32nd in the last two Olympic giant slaloms.

More than a dozen more Alpine skiers, including Lindsey Vonn, are expected to join the Olympic team in the next two weeks.

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