Blardone had lived the dream, winning the race in 2005 and again in 2009. But he had not
won since. Before the race, he videotaped the fabled Gran Risa slope, where the race is
held, from his hotel window.
The favored racers were three-time Cup champion Ted Ligety, youngster Marcel Hirscher
and maybe Alexis Pinturault. But of 23 giant slaloms held over the years at Alta Badia, Italians
have won 10 times. On Sunday Blardone matched Alberto
Tomba’s mark of three wins on
the Gran Risa.
On a tough, demanding and
grueling first run Blardone
had been more than a second
out with Ligety leading over
Hirscher and tour leader Aksel
Lund Svindal alive in third, six
plus tenths out. Blardone’s sec-
ond run melted the favorites.
The course clocked in 10 sec-
onds faster than the first run,
a screamingly fast blast down
the rolls of the Gran Risa he
had videotaped earlier. No one
could catch him. By the time the media caught up to him he had tears in his eyes and kept
repeating: “Beautiful. Just beautiful.”
Hannes Reichelt got second, just his fourth (of 14 total) in GS and Philipp Schoerghofer was
third. Ligety was left scratching his head one hundredth off the podium with Hirscher fifth.
“It didn’t go as well as it should,” said Ligety adding it was “inexcusable” to lose after holding
a 1.7-second lead.
The U.S. also had Miller in 16th and a solid performance from Tim Jitloff in 18th, one of his
World Cup results ever. Tommy Ford blew out in the second run after skiing to 12th in the
The crowd was more subdued for the slalom, either because of the long night of celebratory
partying or because the beginning of the workweek. There were, however, some fireworks
leftover on the hill.
Hirscher sprays champagne from the
Alta Badia podium.
Italians fans were in a joyous
mood in Alta Badia.
Wiley Maple collected his first World
Cup points in Val Gardena super G.