Cuche wins World Cup giant slalom; Ligety DNF |

Cuche wins World Cup giant slalom; Ligety DNF

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Didier Cuche, of Switzerland, celebrates in the finish area after winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant slalom race, in Sestriere, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

SESTRIERE, Italy ” Didier Cuche of Switzerland won the giant slalom Saturday for his first World Cup win of the season, while Ted Ligety of the United States did not finish.

Cuche completed two runs on the 1-mile Kandahar Banchetta course in a combined 2 minutes, 49.57 seconds to beat Stephan Goergl of Austria by 0.66. Austrians Benjamin Raich and Romed Baumann were third and fourth.

Tim Jitloff of the United States posted the fastest second run and moved from 18th to fifth for his career best result. Bode Miller skipped the World Cup events in Italy.

“Jitloff came into this race after getting third in Europa Cup and he’s found his rhythm in GS,” said U.S. men’s team coach Sasha Rearick. “He had a very good first run, top-to-bottom solid skiing. He fully attacked the course.”

Ligety, who won a bronze in the giant slalom at the recent world championships, went out in the first run after losing balance on his inside ski.

“Ted was attacking hard, but leaned in after a little roll over,” Rearick said.

American Jake Zamansky finished 15th, and Jitloff exceeded his expectations.

“The course was very long and very tiring,” Jitloff said. “The hill was to my liking, though. It had all aspects, bank turns, some flatter sections, side hills. I like a big mixed bag of stuff, it caters more to my style.”

Cuche won his ninth World Cup event and second in giant slalom.

“It went all very well on this snow,” Cuche said. “It’s icy and hard, that’s the way I like it best . The skis did what I wanted them to do and I was able to really push.”

Cuche won gold in super-G and silver in downhill at the world championships.

“The successes at the worlds gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “I came close to winning before the worlds, but made mistakes all the time.”

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia finished 11th to remain the overall leader with 766 points. Raich trails with 740 and Jean-Baptiste Grange of France has 726. Miller remained at 517, in eighth place.

Goergl, who was dropped from Austria’s GS team for the worlds, had his first podium finish in three seasons.

Raich’s third-place finish was enough to keep him in the lead of the giant slalom standings. The Austrian has 346 points to lead Cuche by 12 with two races left in the season.

Carlo Janka of Switzerland, who won gold in GS at worlds, missed a gate in his opening run.

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