Ted Ligety had something to show for his day's work. Not Bode Miller, who failed to complete a race for the eighth time in 16 events.
Benjamin Raich of Austria won a World Cup giant slalom Saturday,
his third win in four years at Adelboden. His two-run time of 2
minutes, 24.95 seconds gave the reigning Olympic GS champion his
33rd World Cup win and the lead in the discipline and overall
Italy's Massimiliano Blardone, the 2005 champion on this course,
was 0.24 seconds behind. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud was third, 0.72
Ligety, the defending World Cup champion in GS, finished ninth
on the famously steep Kuonisbaergli course while Miller skied out
on the first run.
Ligety remained second in the discipline standings. Raich moved
to the top of the GS and overall points races.
Ligety barely made the top-30 cut in the morning. He was taken
way wide after approaching a gate too straight halfway down the
"This has never been a hill that's favored me, but I'm only 45
points shy of Benni for the GS title, so it could have been a lot
The Park City, Utah, skier had the second-fastest run of the
afternoon and finished 1.40 seconds shy of Raich.
"It was incredible that Ted even made the final after the
mistake he had in the first run," said Sasha Rearick, the U.S.
men's coach. "He basically made a pit stop then threw down the
hammer to get in there. Skiing from 28th to ninth is good, but it's
not a reflection of how fast Ted can ski."
Miller hit trouble at the same spot as Ligety. He caught a gate
and couldn't correct his line. He did not ski to the finish area to
speak with reporters.
Miller of Franconia, N.H., dropped to 11th in the overall
standings, with Ligety taking his place at No. 10. Raich tops the
overall World Cup standings with 533 points, and leads the GS
standings with 286 points, while Ligety is at 241.
Raich has 13 career GS victories, including at Adelboden in 2006
and '07. He also won at Beaver Creek, Colo., in December. Raich led
Blardone by 0.20 after the first leg and skied solidly to protect
his lead in the second. Blardone was also runner-up to Raich at
this course two years ago.
"He is such a superstar, for me it's no problem to be behind
him," the Italian said through an interpreter.
The Austrian's assured performance helped quiet a typically
raucous Adelboden crowd of 25,500 fans.
"It's great here," Raich said. "It's very difficult and a
Ligety described the buzz as the craziest he has experienced on
the Kuonisbaergli, which has staged its signature race since 1958.
No American has won it in the 42-year World Cup era.
"There were fans all the way up the right side of the course,"
he said. "They cheer loud and hard for everyone, but it's several
decibels higher for the Swiss guys."
It was a disappointing day for the Swiss, with Sandro Viletta
having the best race to finish fourth. Daniel Albrecht, who led the
discipline standings going into the race, was 26th.
Ligety believes he can do more in Sunday's slalom. He placed
second three years ago and Miller won the event in 2002.
"I just don't think I was 100 percent confident tactically
after my first run," he said. "I just can't worry about today and
I have to move on."