GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany: Overall leader Marcel Hirscher earned the 55th World Cup win of his career on Sunday with a commanding performance in the men’s giant slalom at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Having led after the morning’s first run down the Kandahar course, the Austrian clocked a combined winning time of 2 mins 40.18sec.Hirscher finished a massive 1.57 seconds ahead of second-placed Manuel Feller, also from Austria, and 1.69 clear of the event’s Olympic champion Ted Ligety of the United States.
This 55th win of his World Cup career pulls Hirscher above Austrian great Hermann Maier (54) into second place on the men’s all-time list, behind only Ingemar Stenmark’s tally of 86 victories.
Hirscher, 28, has now appeared on the podium 120 times after 218 starts in World Cup races.He is running out of time to catch Stenmark’s tally as the Austrian plans to retire after next year’s world championships in Are, Sweden.
“In the end, everyone is beatable, but right now I’m skiing very well,” beamed Hirscher, who is on course for a seventh straight overall World Cup title.“I’m super happy and surprised things are going so well after the stupid ankle breaks,” he added after fracturing his left ankle last August, at the start of this season’s snow training.
“But things are working very well and I’m in the middle of things.”It was an impressive second run down the soft Garmisch course by the Austrian, who picked up time at each of the four time checks to deny Feller the first win of his career.
However, it was the first time the 25-year-old finished on the podium.Victory in the Bavarian Alps enhances Hirscher’s lead at the top of the overall World Cup rankings.He is 224 points ahead of nearest rival Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, who finished fourth in Garmisch.
This was the penultimate men’s World Cup race before the Winter Olympics start in PyeongChang, South Korea, on February 9, with only a city event in Stockholm on Tuesday still to come.Hirscher is the hot favourite to win the giant slalom in PyeongChang having won only a silver in the slalom at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.