Ligety wins GS race in Beaver Creek; Miller 27th |

Ligety wins GS race in Beaver Creek; Miller 27th

Pat Graham
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Ski racer Ted Ligety, of Park City, Utah, skis the course on his way to the best time in the first run of the men's World Cup giant slalom ski race in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow)
AP | FR37383 AP

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – Ted Ligety conquered the exhausting Birds of Prey course to win a World Cup giant slalom, while U.S. teammate Bode Miller wound up way back in 27th place.

Ligety finished in a combined time of 2 minutes, 37.67 seconds Sunday, edging Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 0.82 seconds. Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third.

So close in the past, Ligety won for the first time at Beaver Creek with two nearly flawless runs, including a hard-charging final descent.

“I didn’t want to hold back,” said Ligety, who’s been no worse than fourth in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek since 2006. “I was just thinking I’d rather blow out having the lead than come down and feel like I choked. I was going hard and I was lucky to make it without any mistakes.”

Jansrud figured he had his first World Cup win after a fast final run, only to be foiled by his good friend.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, this is going to be tough for Ted,'” Jansrud said. “I skied good on the top, felt like I was pushing it.”

But this was Ligety’s time as he captured a World Cup race on the same afternoon that Lindsey Vonn cruised to a super G win in Lake Louise, Alberta.

This was definitely a banner day for the Americans on the hill.

“It’s really cool,” Ligety said of the achievement. “It’s nice to have my name next to hers when she’s winning.”

For Miller, the problem centered more on his skis. He was slow on the first run and switched over to a different Head model to tackle the grippy snow. The change didn’t help as Miller finished 8.68 seconds behind Ligety.

On his second run, Miller hit a patch of soft snow that knocked him off track and nearly brought him to a full stop. He moved back onto the course and continued racing.

It was an all together forgettable World Cup stop for Miller, who swerved off the course in the super G on Saturday.

“Always disappointing when you tank out of races,” Miller said. “But on this hill, it’s been a trend for me. If I can make it down without big mistakes, I win. If not, I don’t. So, there’s not a whole lot of margin between, because it’s pretty unforgiving.”

Swiss skier Daniel Albrecht returned to racing and wound up in 21st place. Albrecht had a horrific crash nearly two years ago during a downhill training run at Kitzbuehel, Austria, that left him in a medically induced coma with brain and lung injuries.

The crowd gave Albrecht a rousing ovation after both of his runs.

“It was such a hard road to come back,” Albrecht said. “It took a lot of time. I was hoping to do everything well again. That was the satisfying thing, to be able to come back to where I was.”

Just his presence back on the mountain impressed Ligety, let alone his ability to be a factor in this race.

“That’s phenomenal,” Ligety said. “That’s really a credit to him and what a good skier he is now, and how really good he was before.”

Benjamin Raich of Austria skipped the race with a bothersome back, while one of the favorites, Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, missed a gate on the first run and was done for the day.

Defending champ Carlo Janka of Switzerland skied out in the final run and didn’t finish.

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – Lindsey Vonn isn’t settling for second place this time.

The American won the women’s World Cup super G race at Lake Louise in 1 minute, 20.72 seconds on Sunday.

Maria Riesch of Germany was second in 1:21.55 and American Julia Mancuso was third in 1:21.61.

Vonn finished second to Riesch in both downhill races this week.

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