Hirscher ral­lies for gi­ant slalom vic­tory

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pat Graham

aspen» Mar­cel Hirscher of Aus­tria ral­lied to a gi­ant slalom vic­tory Satur­day at the World Cup Fi­nals.

He pow­ered through the shorter-than-usual course in a com­bined time of 1 minute, 49.79 sec­onds. First-run leader Felix Neureuther of Ger­many was sec­ond, 0.53 sec­onds be­hind. Mathieu Faivre of France took third.

There wasn’t much at stake in this race for Hirscher, who al­ready had clinched the sea­son-long gi­ant slalom ti­tle along with his sixth straight over­all crown.

But he skied like ev­ery­thing was on the line. The 28-year-old Hirscher trailed after the first run by a slim 0.01-sec­ond mar­gin. He quickly erased that in a tech­ni­cally sound fi­nal run.

“Ev­ery race is very se­ri­ous. I want to win it if it is pos­si­ble,” Hirscher said.

It was Hirscher’s fourth World Cup win in GS this sea­son. He and Alexis Pin­tu­rault of France have won seven of eight GS races this sea­son. The only other racer to win in the dis­ci­pline was Faivre in De­cem­ber at Val d’Isere, France. Faivre’s team­mate, Cy­prien Sar­razin, also cap­tured a par­al­lel gi­ant slalom.

Pin­tu­rault had a fast sec­ond run go­ing be­fore hit­ting his left hip on the snow and ski­ing off course — his third “did not fin­ish” this sea­son.

“Pro­tect­ing the globe from Alexis this sea­son means a lot be­cause, espe­cially at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, he was un­be­liev­ably fast,” Hirscher said. “I proved my­self pretty good dur­ing the sea­son.”

In ad­di­tion, Hirscher cap­tured the GS crown at last month’s world cham­pi­onships. He’s look­ing for­ward to get­ting away from ski­ing for a lit­tle bit.

“Mar­cel is one of the best men­tal ath­letes out there, in any sport re­ally,” said Amer­i­can ri­val Ted Ligety, who sat out World Cup Fi­nals as he re­cov­ered from back surgery.

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