Ted Ligety wins giant slalom to clinch World Cup title

KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA - MARCH 09: (FRANCE OUT) Ted Ligety of the USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom on March 09, 2013 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Ted Ligety took 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Men's Giant Slalom in Slovenia on Saturday. (Getty Images)
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Ted Ligety of the United States won his fifth giant slalom of the season Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, to clinch the World Cup discipline title with a race to spare.

It’s his fourth GS title, after winning in 2008 and 2010-11. He also successfully defended his GS title at the world championships last month.

‘‘To win here again is a super cool feeling,’’ said Ligety, who has won in Kranjska Gora five times and been on the podium every year since 2008. ‘‘I am really proud of that.’’

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Ligety held his first-run lead to win in 2 minutes 35.43 seconds for his 16th career victory, all in GS. He has an insurmountable 125-point lead over Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, who was 0.45 seconds behind in second. France’s Alexis Pinturault was third.

Women’s giant slalom — Anna Fenninger of Austria won in Ofterschwang, Germany, while overall champion Tina Maze became the first woman to make eight GS podiums in one season.

Fenninger protected her lead from the first run to complete the course in 2:29.39 and finish 0.44 ahead of Maze, who had already clinched the overall and giant slalom titles.

Maze earned her 21st World Cup podium of the season, putting her just one behind Hermann Maier’s record from 1999-2000. She has already broken Maier’s record for points in a season, and extended her total to 2,154.

Biathlon — Martin Fourcade of France claimed his eighth World Cup victory in Sochi, Russia, by winning the 10-kilometer sprint race on the Olympic course.

In the women’s race, Polish veteran Magdalena Gwizdon edged Olympic champion Anastasiya Kuzmina to win the 7.5K sprint for her first victory in six years.

Freestyle — Thomas Wallisch of the United States won the slopestyle at the world championships in Voss, Norway, beating James Woods of Britain. American Nicholas Goepper was third.

Canadians swept the top two spots in the women’s race as Kaya Turski took gold ahead of Dara Howell. Grete Eliassen of the United States was third.

Speedskating — American Heather Richardson clinched her second overall World Cup title in three years, finishing 11th in the final 1,000-meter race in Heerenveen, Netherlands, a race won by Christine Nesbitt of Canada.

Cross-country — Kikkan Randall of the United States clinched the World Cup sprint title by edging Norwegian Marit Bjoergen at the line in the Lahti (Finland) Ski Games.

Sweden’s Emil Joensson clinched the men’s sprint title by beating Ola Vigen Hattestad of Norway. American Andrew Newell was second in the sprint standings.