Ted Ligety's GS unbeaten streak ends at 3 races

By Graham Dunbar

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 8 2011 9:21 a.m. MST

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, left, and France's Cyprien Richard, center, celebrate on podium as they shared first place after an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. At right is France's Thomas Fanara, third placed.

Alessandro Trovati, Associated Press

ADELBODEN, Switzerland — Ted Ligety lost contol and then lost his unbeaten streak in World Cup giant slaloms, leaving Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Cyprien Richard of France to tie for the victory Saturday.

Svindal and Richard — who placed 21st in the first run — had a combined two-run time of 2 minutes, 25.28 seconds on the Kuonisbaergli course. Thomas Fanara of France was 0.20 back in third.

It was the first men's giant slalom to finish in a tie in World Cup racing history, a span stretching 45 seasons and 344 races.

The last men's World Cup race to be tied was a March 2006 slalom in Shigakogen, Japan, where Kalle Palander of Finland and Reinfried Herbst of Austria shared the spoils.

"It's an unbelievable race and it's fun to be the fastest," said Svindal, who took the overall World Cup lead with the 100 points he earned for his 14th career win.

Ligety was seeking to extend his impressive start to the giant slalom season with a fourth straight win, and was fastest in the morning.

Last to race in the afternoon with 0.66 seconds in hand on the joint leaders, the 26-year-old American lost control midway through his run and went off course.

Ligety crossed 3.65 seconds behind in 28th place, earning three race points. He leads Svindal 303-265 in the discipline standings.

Bode Miller, Ligety's U.S. teammate, placed 22nd, 1.33 behind Svindal and Richard.

Svindal spent much of the past two days in bed nursing a fever, and was spurred to race by the warm, sunny weather.

"You should always go to the start unless you're half dead, because you don't know what's going to happen," he said. "It was plus five degrees (41 Fahrenheit) and on the first run I felt surprisingly good."

Svindal, a two-time overall champion, leads Austrian speed specialist Michael Walchhofer, who skips Adelboden's technical races, by 26 points in the overall. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia rose to third with a fifth-place finish Saturday.

Richard got his first career World Cup win two weeks after a career-best second place behind Ligety in the previous GS race at Alta Badia, Italy.

The 31-year-old Frenchman was 1.46 slower than Ligety in the morning, but used the fastest second run to soar up the standings.

"I knew that anything was possible because the visibility changed a lot," Richard said. "It's an unbelievable feeling."

Fanara reached the podium for the second straight GS, following his third-place finish in Alta Badia.

The hard-fought race thrilled 30,000 fans lining the course on a warm, sunny day.

Less than a half-second separated the first 12 finishers.

The home crowd hopes rested with Olympic and world GS champion Carlo Janka, who was second fastest behind Ligety in the morning.

Like Ligety, Janka found Adelboden a tough course for late racers to defend a lead when sunlight disappears behind the mountains so early.

Janka also made a big error and lost speed cresting the steep final pitch into the finish. The defending World Cup overall champion placed 13th, 0.58 back.

The Adelboden meeting continues with a slalom Sunday.

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