Hirscher close to WCup title as Svindal skis out

GRAHAM DUNBAR AP Sports Writer Published:

LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (AP) -- Marcel Hirscher is poised to win the overall World Cup title Saturday after placing eighth in the first run of a giant slalom as main rival Aksel Lund Svindal skied out.

The Austrian racer needs just 19 points to secure his third straight overall title, and would get 32 by maintaining eighth place in the second run.

"Right now it's meant to go to Austria," said Norway's Svindal, a two-time former champion. "I can't be here and say, 'Let's hope Marcel goes out.' That's bad."

Hirscher would also beat American Ted Ligety for the season-long GS title by two points on current positions.

Ligety was second fastest, 0.13 seconds behind Felix Neureuther of Germany's time of 1 minute, 8.09 seconds. Germany's Felix Dopfer was 0.15 back in third.

Olympic GS champion Ligety is chasing a fifth season-long World Cup title in the event.

In a tight race Saturday, Hirscher had 0.31 to make up in the afternoon

Hirscher is also favored to score points in Sunday's season-ending slalom, which Svindal will skip.

Svindal has seemed below full strength since leaving the Sochi Olympics early, affected by allergies and without a medal.

"It was a good season but it could have been fantastic," said Svindal, who won the World Cup titles in downhill and super-G. "That was too bad, because I had a really good opportunity to win the biggest thing a ski racer can win."