Sunday, February 17, 2019 | ePaper
Luitz overpowers Hirscher to win Beaver Creek giant slalom
Germany's Stefan Luitz captured his first career World Cup victory on Sunday, snapping Marcel Hirscher's five-race win streak by taking the giant slalom in Beaver Creek.
Luitz finished with a combined time of 2min 36.38sec to edge out Austrian star Hirscher, who had won five consecutive giant slaloms dating back to last season.
"It is unbelievable," said Luitz, who also led after the first leg of the two-run event. "To cross the finish line in the lead is unbelievable. I am so happy.
"I just focused on my skiing and tried to do the same as in the first run.
Hirscher, who skied second to last, clocked a 2:36.52 for second while Switzerland's Thomas Tumler was a surprise third in 2:36.89.
Luitz's upset win is more remarkable because he just returned to the slopes after suffering a season-ending cruciate ligament tear almost a year ago in Alta Badia, Italy. The injury caused him to miss the 2018 Olympic Games.
Luitz had a couple of wobbles on his second run, but managed to stay on his skis and was able to gain speed through the turns on the bottom of the course.
"I did some really big mistakes but I am on the top of the podium," he said. "It was so turny and so hard." His previous best World Cup finish was two seconds in the giant slalom at Val d'Isere in 2012 and 2017.
Tumler seized the lead from the 10th starting position and then surprisingly held onto it through the next 18 skiers until Hirscher knocked him off the top spot.