Dec 8, 2013, 3:39 PM EDT
Ted Ligety dominated as usual. Bode Miller looked like the Miller of old.
The Americans went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Sunday. It marked the first time the U.S. put two men on a World Cup podium since Jan. 17, 2009.
The world champion Ligety won in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 35.77 seconds. He beat Miller by a comfortable 1.32 seconds. Miller was a half-second faster than third-place Austrian Marcel Hirscher, the reigning World Cup overall champion.
“It’s cool having Bode back,” Ligety said on NBCSN. “He just showed a tremendous amount of speed, for sure. He’s so up and down in training. What he just did there was really awesome. It’s cool to finally have another American, right up there pushing me in training and racing.”
Ligety won his fourth straight World Cup giant slalom dating to last season. The last man to win four straight giant slaloms was Italian Alberto Tomba in 1991.
The last man to win five straight was Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won all 10 giant slaloms in 1978-79 and is the all time World Cup wins leader with 86.
Ligety had plenty of margin for error in the second run after taking a 1.1-second lead over Miller in the morning run.
“Second run was tough,” Ligety said on NBCSN. “It got pretty dark again, pretty bumpy, too. It’s nice to have a 1.2 cushion, so you don’t have to take too many risks. I’m pretty psyched.”
Miller tried to put pressure on Ligety by posting the fastest second run in the 30-man field, but Ligety, the final skier, was .22 faster in a conservative run through tough conditions on a snowy afternoon.
“Ted is the most clutch skier there’s been,” Miller said on NBCSN. “When he has a first-run lead, he loses it less than anybody. So I wanted to make sure I put him in the position of knowing that I had come down and stuck a run. He lived up to it again today.”
Ligety, 29, has now won 19 career World Cup races, all giant slaloms. In February, he became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a single World Championships.
Miller, 36, posted his first top 10 of the season in his sixth race. The five-time Olympic medalist missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery.
Miller’s last World Cup podium was Feb. 3, 2012. His last World Cup giant slalom podium was March 17, 2007.
Miller won an Olympic silver medal in the giant slalom in 2002, but he’s become more of a speed-event skier over the last decade. The U.S. went one-two in a World Cup giant slalom for the first time in eight years.
Back then, it was Miller and Daron Rahlves. Like Ligety, Miller is excited to have competition from a countryman as Sochi nears.
“It’s the best,” Miller said on NBCSN. “Me and Daron had that. Ted’s been so strong now, for a bunch of years, in GS. I just haven’t had it where it needed to be, injury wise or intensity wise or conditioning wise.
“It’s been a long time coming for us. It was a big challenge for me to come back.”
The Alpine skiing World Cup continues in Val d’Isere, France, next weekend. They will race a giant slalom Saturday and a slalom Sunday.
Beaver Creek Giant Slalom
1. Ted Ligety (USA) 2:35.77
2. Bode Miller (USA) 2:37.09
3. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 2:37.59
4. Mathieu Faivre (FRA) 2:38.61
5. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 2:38.71
6. Carlo Janka (SUI) 2:38.78
7. Felix Neureuther (GER) 2:38.82
8. Leif Kristian Haugen (NOR) 2:38.83
9. Stefan Luitz (GER) 2:38.98
10. Roberto Nani (ITA) 2:39.00
33. Tim Jitloff (USA)
36. Brennan Rubie (USA)
44. Warner Nickerson (USA)
51. Robby Kelley (USA)
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