Beaver Creek

Stefan Luitz beats Marcel Hirscher for first World Cup win

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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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Max Franz wins Beaver Creek super-G

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) — Now this was a party: the five of them crammed onto the stage to spray sparkling wine and pose for a few pictures.

Rarely has a podium been this crowded — or this lively.

Austrian Max Franz conquered the snow and fog Saturday for his first World Cup super-G victory in a tightly contested affair that resulted in five racers sharing the top three spots.

Franz finished in 1 minute, 1.91 seconds to hold off Mauro Caviezel of Switzerland by 0.33 seconds. There was a three-way tie for third among Norwegian teammates Aksel Lund Svindal and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Italy’s Dominik Paris. The trio was 0.41 seconds behind.

After the race, the celebration kicked up a notch.

“It’s the first time I’ve been on the podium with five guys,” the veteran Svindal said. “This is better. We don’t have to fight. Let’s tie and get everyone up there and it’s a party.”

The only other time a World Cup race ended with three racers tied for third place was a downhill in 1973, according to information provided by the International Ski Federation.

“It’s crazy, yeah?” Paris said.

A crazy day all around.

Racing was delayed an hour as course workers cleared a considerable amount of snow from the track. With snowflakes still falling, Franz found just a little more speed than everyone else.

For that, he credits a mistake near the top when he went too straight into a turn.

“In my head, I made a mistake so I have to push more,” explained Franz, who won a downhill last weekend at Lake Louise. “The race was really good.”

This marked the second straight day Caviezel and Svindal wound up on the podium. They finished in the same spots during the downhill.

“It’s just great,” Caviezel said. “I don’t know what’s going on. It’s a good feeling.”

To pass the time during the delay, Svindal said a group of competitors played the card game “UNO.” He kept losing because, as he found out later, the dealers were good-naturedly stacking the deck.

“I was like, ‘Really, this is not my lucky day,’” Svindal said.

Turns out, it was. He had a little help, though.

The third racer on the hill, Kilde had a solid run and jumped on the radio to give Svindal a quick course report.

Kilde’s advice: Stay in the tracks.

“I told him what he should think about, and where the tricky spots were and where it’s fast,” Kilde said.

Svindal took mental notes and followed a similar line to wind up with the same time as Kilde and Paris.

“The conditions were actually not too bad,” Svindal said. “It was snowing like crazy for a while. When you have that good of a course crew, you actually feel confident that the skiing will actually be OK. You know they wouldn’t start a race unless the conditions were OK.”

Svindal has 15 top-three finishes at the World Cup stop.

“I’ve had a lot of success here,” he said. “Happy to be here every time.”

Svindal suffered a left thumb injury during a recent training crash that’s forced him to tape the ski pole to his glove. It means he can’t push off out of the starting gate.

No matter. Svindal still generates speed.

There were some surprising charges from back in the pack when the snow briefly stopped. Christoph Krenn of Austria began 35th and moved up to sixth, while Klemen Kosi of Slovenia started 33rd and finished ninth. American Steven Nyman had a big leap, too, going from No. 64 to 20th.

The top performance by the U.S. was turned in by Travis Ganong, who finished 15th as he steadily makes his way back from a knee injury.

“I just was ready to push harder and turn my brain off and just enjoy it,” Ganong explained. “That’s what it takes. It’s amazing how your mind can dictate how your results are. When you’re thinking too much, it gets in the way of skiing sometimes.”

Beat Feuz leads Swiss one-two in Beaver Creek downhill

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Swiss Beat Feuz, who missed two PyeongChang Olympic gold medals by three tenths of a second, won the Birds of Prey downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., by a much smaller margin on Friday.

Feuz edged countryman Mauro Caviezel by .07 under snowfall and at times tough visibility at the annual World Cup stop. It’s the first Swiss one-two in a World Cup downhill since Dec. 29, 2011.

Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, the PyeongChang downhill champion, took third, .08 back of Feuz. Steven Nyman and Bryce Bennett were the top Americans, sharing ninth. The start was moved down due to the conditions. Full results are here.

Feuz, the 2017 World downhill champion, entered the Olympics as one of the downhill and super-G favorites. He delivered but could not overcome Svindal in the former (.18 behind for bronze) or Austrian Matthias Mayer in the latter (.13 back for silver).

Feuz went on to claim the World Cup season downhill title in March after his most successful campaign in six years with three victories. Between 2012 and 2018, Feuz endured a series of health problems, including left knee surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2012-13 season.

The 31-year-old opened this season with sixth- and 10th-place finishes in Lake Louise, Alberta, last weekend before earning his 11th World Cup victory on Friday.

The Beaver Creek World Cup stop continues with a super-G on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday, live on NBC Sports. A full broadcast schedule is here.

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MORE: Ted Ligety determined to win again after series of injuries