Hirscher wraps up Cup title

The Associated Press

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher celebrates after winning Saturday’s World Cup giant slalom event in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

The Associated Press KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Marcel Hirscher locked up the men’s World Cup giant slalom title with a race to spare on Saturday, underlining his ongoing dominance of the discipline.

The Olympic GS champion from Austria won the penultimate event of the season for his 56th career victory, giving him an insurmountable 125-point lead in the GS standings over Norwegian rival Henrik Kristoffersen. A win is worth 100 points.

And Hirscher did so in style, posting the fastest times in both runs. He finished in 2 minutes, 20.76 seconds, beating runner-up Kristoffersen by 1.66 seconds. Alexis Pinturault of France was more than 2 ½ seconds off the pace in third.

“I am very happy that it happened today,” said the Austrian, adding he wasn’t expecting to wrap up the title on Saturday, a day after he turned 29.

“To me this comes as a little bit as a surprise as I haven’t been thinking about it. I was just thinking about the race. Normally you would need the calculator only in two weeks’ time,” he said, referring to the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden.

Hirscher winning the race, however, was everything but a surprise.

The Austrian has won eight of the last 10 World Cup giant slaloms and reached the podium of the other two. The last time he failed to finish in the top three was when he placed fifth at the season-ending GS in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in March 2016.

“Marcel is in his own league,” Kristoffersen said. “It’s OK at the moment, it’s OK that Marcel wins the globe. He is the best racer.”

Kristoffersen trailed Hirscher by 0.73 seconds after the opening run. The Norwegian tried to put pressure on his Austrian rival with an all-attacking second run, but a misjudged turn halfway down the course slowed him.

“I had a big mistake in the middle part, really big. And the course is not steep after that so I had no speed. If you have such a mistake, you have no chance against Marcel,” the Norwegian said.

Weirather takes top spot

CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Tina Weirather won a World Cup super-G Saturday to overtake Lara Gut for first place in the discipline’s standings with one race left

The Olympic bronze medalist from Liechtenstein overtook Gut to go top of the standings. Weirather will carry a 46-point lead over her Swiss rival, who finished the race in seventh, into the final event on March 15 at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden.

Weirather won the globe for the best super-G racer last season, edging Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia by five points. Set for another close showdown with Gut, Weirather called winning the trophy again “very important.”

“It’s the biggest prize you can win in our sport,” she said. “This means more than an Olympic medal, which is just one race and where luck always plays a part. But a globe is never a matter of luck.”Speech

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