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Ligety claims second gold as U.S. tops medals table

updated 4:08 PM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
Ted Ligety celebrates his second gold medal of the world skiing championships after victory in the super combined.
Ted Ligety celebrates his second gold medal of the world skiing championships after victory in the super combined.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ted Ligety wins super-combi gold at world skiing championships
  • Ligety has also claimed the super-G title in Schladming
  • Superb slalom run under floodlights key to his victory
  • Veteran Ivica Kostelic second for Croatia

(CNN) -- Ted Ligety claimed his second gold of the world skiing championships Monday, lifting the U.S. to the top of the medals table in Austria.

The 28-year-old from Salt Lake City produced a masterful performance over the two-legged super combined event for an aggregate time of two minutes 56.96 seconds.

It left him 1.15 seconds faster than Croatian veteran Ivica Kostelic, with Romed Baumann, giving the hosts some rare cheer by taking the final podium spot.

Ligety trailed Baumann by 0.72 seconds after the earlier downhill leg, but showed his all-round skills on the floodlit Planai slope at Schladming in the slalom.

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He edged inside the time set by Kostelic, then watched as a succession of challengers, including two-time defending champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, ski out in trying to match his time.

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Ligety was already celebrating when Baumann gave Austria just its second bronze of the championships.

"I surely took all the risks this evening after my great downhill run, I knew I had chance for another podium finish today," Ligety told the official championship website.

"These worlds have been pretty exciting for me so far.

"Now I'm looking forward for another great race in the coming giant slalom."

Ligety has stepped into the breach after the super-G crash which left fellow American Lindsey Vonn with season-ending injuries.

Read: Vonn expected to recover from injuries

Vonn was expected to lead the U.S. medal charge in Austria, but Ligety took the men's super-G title to compensate for her early exit -- his first ever major victory in that discipline.

Svindal, the downhill winner, saw his chances go when he straddled a gate in the mid-section of a treacherous course, while Kostelic was disappointed he could not capitalize on a storming earlier run in the downhill.

"I didn't ski well at all this evening so I am very happy by that silver medal," he said.

"It's a lucky medal. I think I didn't deserve be on the podium after such as bad slalom run following that great downhill leg earlier today. "

Ligety will get a chance for a hat-trick of golds in Friday's giant slalom -- he won the title in 2011 in that discipline.

The championships are an important staging post ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi in a year's time.

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