A technical weekend in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, awaits the men next.
The men's Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour resumes with the next to last men’s giant slalom of the season on Saturday, 5 March 2011 and the slalom is held on Sunday, 6 March 2011.
The race for the small globe in giant slalom is still open. After five of seven races, American Ted Ligety (323) is ahead in the standings with 26 points over Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal (297) but many things can happen in the remaining two races where up to one hundred World Cup points are being awarded per race.
An interesting battle is expected to unfold in the giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, which is one of is one the most challenging and longest in the World Cup circus next to the ones of Adelboden and Alta Badia.
Ligety, who became the sixth American to win both Olympic and world titles after Barbara-Ann Cochran, Phil Mahre, Picabo Street, Miller and Lindsey Vonn and who has the confidence to win more, especially in giant slalom, enters the race as the top favorite. His main competitors are the two Norwegians Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud, who are in second and fourth place of the discipline standings along with Frenchman Richard Cyprien and the Austrian Philipp Schörghofer, the silver and bronze medalists of the World Championships giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Switzerland’s Carlo Janka, coming back in time after his surgery, France’s Thomas Fanara and the overall World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic are also strong candidates. Even the two Austrians Romed Baumann and Hannes Reichelt and the Italians Massimiliano Blardone, Davide Simoncelli and Manfred Moelgg may have a good shot at the podium.
In slalom, a preliminary decision in the battle for the World Cup could be made on Sunday in Kranjska Gora where Kostelic will attempt to secure the slalom globe in the second to last men’s slalom of the 2010/11 season. His biggest competitor is the French world champion Jean-Baptiste Grange (442), who is trailing Kostelic (478) only by 36 points. The Swede Andre Myhrer (333) is currently ranked 3rd, 133 points behind Kostelic and stands only a theoretical chance to still move up to the top of the rankings. The fourth-ranked Austrian Marcel Hirscher (326) had to end the season preliminary due to injury while his teammate Reinfried Herbst (230) in 6th place is already too far behind the leader.
Besides Kostelic, Grange, Myhrer and Herbst, names to watch in the Kranjska Gora slalom on Sunday include Mario Matt (AUT), Manfred Moelgg (ITA), Hargin Mattias (SWE) and Manfred Moelgg (ITA). Outsider chances can be attributed to Giuliano Razzoli (ITA), Jens Byggmark (SWE), Michael Janyk (CAN), Steve Missillier (FRA), Julien Cousineau (CAN) and Axel Baeck (SWE).
The overall World Cup has pretty much been decided after 27 of 38 races, prior to the event in Kranjska Gora with Croatian Ivica Kostelic leading by a big margin of 1249 points over Switzerland’s Didier Cuche with 725 points. The Swiss will not be competing this week-end in the Julian Alps but will be back for the speed events in Kvitfjell, Norway, attempting to capture the small downhill globe.