Svindal wins GS; Ligety just misses medal |

Svindal wins GS; Ligety just misses medal

Andrew Dampf
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, center, winner of the men's giant slalom, celebrates with silver medalist Daniel Albrecht of Switzerland, left, and third-place finisher Didier Cuche of Switzerland, at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Are, Sweden on Wednesday. (Luca Bruno/AP)

ARE, Sweden ” Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the giant slalom Wednesday, and American Ted Ligety finished fourth, missing out on a medal by 0.07 seconds at the world championships.

Svindal finished in a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 19.64 seconds, collecting his second gold after winning the downhill on Sunday.

Bode Miller, the 2003 giant slalom winner, dropped from sixth to finish 15th after an adventurous second leg. Miller hit a gate with his head midway through his run and stood up as he crossed the finish line.

First-run leader Daniel Albrecht of Switzerland was second, 0.48 behind Svindal, to add a silver medal to the unexpected gold he won in combined. Didier Cuche of Switzerland was third, 0.92 back, for his first career medal at a major championship.

Svindal became the third Norwegian skier to win a giant slalom world title. Lasse Kjus won in 1999 at Vail, Colo., and Kjetil Andre Aamodt triumphed in 1993 at Morioka, Japan.

“I felt after the first run I could go much faster,” Svindal said. “In the second run, I got a much better start. It’s another great day for Norway.”

Svindal leads the World Cup overall and giant slalom discipline standings after winning a giant slalom and posting two other top-three results this season.

Ninth in the first leg, Ligety had the advantage of U.S. coach Mike Morin setting the gates of the second run.

“I’m happy I skied well but I’m super disappointed that I came fourth,” Ligety said. “It’s tough to lose it by that much.”

Albrecht, the world junior GS champion in 2003, had never finished in the top three at a World Cup or major championship race. His best finish in giant slalom this season was 16th last month.

Switzerland now has five medals through eight events. At the last championships two years ago in Bormio, Italy, the Swiss won no medals.

Francois Bourque of Canada, who was second in the first leg, skied off course early in his second trip down the slope.

Defending champion Hermann Maier was 22nd after the opening run and moved up only one spot in the second leg.

“The visibility was incredibly bad,” Maier said between runs. “It wasn’t clicking for me. At the finish, I completely lost all my power.”

It marked the first time that Maier left the worlds or Olympics without a medal, and it may have been his last major competition.

“I’m more tired than depressed,” said the 34-year-old Maier, who won’t enter the team event that concludes the championships Sunday.

Olympic champion Benjamin Raich skied off course early in his first run.

Raich lost control rounding a gate, lifted his left ski into the air to keep his balance, and couldn’t recover when he got his skis back together.

“In the steep part, I was not very concentrated. I was not moving forward, and that’s very important at that part,” Raich said. “It’s disappointing for me. It was a very important race for me, and I had a big chance. But sometimes that’s the result of the risk, and you have to take risks when you want to win.”

Italian giant slalom specialist Max Blardone also did not finish the opening leg, hitting a gate and skidding off course toward the end of his run.

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