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Ligety wins 2nd straight World Cup giant slalom

By Samuel Petrequin

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Dec. 11 2010 10:08 a.m. MST

Ted Ligety of the United States, center, winner of an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant slalom race, celebrates on the podium with second placed Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway, left, and third placed Italy's Massimiliano Blardone, in Val D'Isere, France, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010.

Giovanni Auletta, Associated Press

VAL D'ISERE, France — American Ted Ligety dominated his rivals to clinch a second consecutive World Cup giant slalom Saturday, beating Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway by more than a second in the French Alps.

Coming off his GS win at Beaver Creek last weekend, Ligety had a flawless first leg on the Face de Bellevarde to take a big lead and then uncorked a bold second run to win in the combined time of 2 minutes, 26.26 seconds.

Svindal was 1.05 seconds behind and Massimiliano Blardone of Italy was third, 1.21 back.

Ligety, the defending World Cup giant slalom champion, took bronze on the same course in 2009 at the world championships.

"It's certainly nice to get two races in a row," Ligety said. "It's definitely pretty exciting to be able to do that in such difficult conditions."

Ligety claimed his seventh World Cup victory on the steep course, regarded as one of the most difficult on the circuit. All seven of his World Cup wins have come in GS races.

Most of the competitors struggled, with 20 skiers failing to finish the first run.

Bode Miller of the United States skied out after just a few gates in the morning run, while local favorite Jean-Baptiste Grange of France also was eliminated when he went out after three gates.

Philipp Schoerghofer of Austria crashed near the finish in the first run and ended up in the safety net, but was unharmed.

"It's the hardest race I had for a long time and to make it down and win with such a big lead is just amazing," Ligety said after celebrating with Blardone and Svindal in the finish area.

Under clear blue skies, Ligety increased his lead over Svindal and Blardone in the second run while Olympic giant slalom champion Carlo Janka of Switzerland climbed up to fourth with a combined time of 2:27.81.

"I was very impressed by what Ted did today," said Svindal, who leads the World Cup standings with 236 points, 15 more than Ligety. "When you're pulling out two clean runs like he did today, this is normal to have such big margins."

The race was the second completed GS of the season after the opener in Soelden, Austria, was called off after the first run because of poor visibility with Ligety standing in second place.

A slalom is scheduled for Sunday in Val d'Isere.

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