Defending champion Ted Ligety takes on the best in the world in Alpine Rockfest, live from Andalo, Italy on the USSA Network beginning at 6:00 a.m. EST.
ANDALO-TRENTINO, Italy (Dec. 20) - Defending champion Ted Ligety takes on the world Thursday as the USSA Network brings live coverage to America beginning at 6:00 a.m. EST.
Three-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted LIgety and overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal headline a star-studded field at the third edition of Alpine Rockfest, as Olympic racers battle for a €70,000 Grand Prize on the Olimpionica piste at Paganella Ski Resort.
Both Svindal and Ligety enter Thursday’s Rockfest GS race with the momentum of World Cup victories over the past week in Italy; Svindal won a super G in Val Gardena on Friday by more than a second and Ligety dominated a GS in Alta Badia on Sunday by 2.04 seconds.
“I feel good about defending my title at Rockfest,” said Ligety, the 2011 winner. “Its cool coming here as defending champion. Hopefully, I can put a good race down and its definitely a nice little Christmas present if you can win it.”
“It's for sure going to be hard to take down Ted, but its a one man wins it all format, so you gotta get after it and try,” said Svindal, who is making his third trip to Rockfest.
Also in the Holiday spirit like Ligety, Svindal added: “All the guys stay in the same hotel so its nice for all of us to get to hang together before we go home for Christmas.”
Marcel Hirscher, who won a night slalom in nearby Madonna di Campiglio on Monday and who has been on the podium in all seven technical races this season, opted to withdraw from Thursday’s race.
“It has been a tough month and I need a rest after so many difficult World Cup racers,” said Hirscher. “I’m getting a bit older and I’m trying to be more professional – my body is the boss and its the most important thing for any sportsman.”
“For me the only decision is to be professional and look forward to skiing the next races in January and the World Championships in Schladming in the same style I have been skiing. I have to be smart this season.”
Italian racers competing are two-time World Cup winner Davide Simoncelli, GS specialist Max Blardone, Beaver Creek downhill champion Christof Innerhofer, Florian Eisath and Luca De Aliprandini.
Other racers who could contend for the title include 2011 World Championship GS silver medalist Cyprien Richard of France and 20-year old Austrian Marcel Mathis, who has already attained two World Cup top-three results.
The Rockfest format consists of sixteen top Olympic ski stars racing through three successive rounds of Sprint Giant Slalom, with six athletes being eliminated in the opening round and five in the second round. The "Winner-Takes-All" round involves the last five athletes. Past winners have been the French star Richard in 2009, collecting €108,000 in winnings and Ligety, the 2011 Alpine Rockfest Champion, with winnings of €60,000.
Sports fans and ski racing enthusiasts can see Alpine Rockfest live from 12:00-13:45 CET on Thursday on more than ten national networks as well as internationally on Eurosport. Additionally, more than sixty worldwide broadcasters will offer highlights and reports. Action continues throughout the winter with more than 1,000 hours of global television coverage.
Alpine Rockfest will also be broadcast live from 6:00 a.m.-7:45 EST in English on the USSA Network at www.usskiteam.com. The event will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. EST and also available thereafter via Video on Demand on the USTREAM channel.
USTREAM (ustream.tv) is the exclusive live English global streaming partner of Alpine Rockfest.
Corporate event sponsorship is by Audi, Trentino and Andalo Paganella Italy.
Official Start list established after the Jacuzzi Bib draw Athlete List & first round start list.
Start list for the first round of the 16 Invited Athletes
Marcel Mathis AUT 1 Warner Nickerson USA 2 Truls Ove Karlsen NOR 3 Max Blardone ITA 4 Florian Eisath ITA 5 Cyprien Richard FRA 6 Ted Ligety USA 7 Marcus Sandell FIN 8 Mirko Deflorian MDA 9 Davide Simoncelli ITA 10 Jon Olsonn SWE 11 Luca De Aliprandini ITA 12 Leif Kristian Haugen NOR 13 Tommy Ford USA 14 Adam Zampa SVK 15 Aksel Lund Svindal NOR 16