Ligety wins giant slalom title; Janka gets overall
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – Ted Ligety of the United States won the World Cup giant slalom title Friday and Carlo Janka became the first Swiss man to earn the overall title since 1992.
Janka, the Olympic champion, won the final giant slalom of the season to take an unassailable lead in the overall standings with one race remaining. He is 106 points ahead of Benjamin Raich of Austria.
“I am really proud to have won it at age 23,” Janka said. “To be world champion, Olympic champion and overall champion at that age is incredible.”
Ligety, the 2006 Olympic champion, already owned the title by the time he started the second heat – but wasn’t aware of it.
“I would have gone harder had I known that, but I had a safe second run and was still pretty excited to get on the podium,” he said of his third-place finish.
Janka led after the first run and was able to produce a clean second run under pressure to win in a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.87 seconds for his sixth victory of the season.
Davide Simoncelli of Italy was second in 2:21.18 and Ligety tied for third with Philipp Schoerghofer of Austria at 2:21.44.
Janka is the youngest overall champion since Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was also 23 when he won in 1994. The last Swiss man to win the overall title was Paul Accola in 1992.
“Everything came together this season and today everything was perfect,” Janka said. “I had a good feeling after the first run and I was confident before the second.
“I heard the announcer before the start and I knew I had to win the race to secure the title but that didn’t bother me. I was focused.”
Ligety’s closest rivals, Massimiliano Blardone of Italy and Marcel Hirscher of Austria, flopped in the first run. Blardone went off course and finished well behind, while Hirscher was disqualified for starting too early.
“I made some mistakes but so did many other guys,” Ligety said. “This is a new hill, totally new course.”
Raich finished eighth, finished second in the overall for the fourth straight year after winning the title in 2006.
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Tejay van Garderen has long been one of the country’s top professional cyclists, having spent 12 seasons on the World Tour with various teams. His career came to an end in June when the 32-year-old announced his retirement.