Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Projected 2013/2014 Alpine Skiing World Cup final standings

Soon we will have about one third of the Alpine Skiing World Cup season over, and we can see which skiers are really in the battle for the World Cup titles. But the unequal number of races for each discipline doesn't mean the current leader is the true favourite for the title. Last year, Aksel Lund Svindal had a great early season and was leading the standings, but in the end, Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup. Svindal's second half of last season was not as spectacular as his early season, but also the high number of technical events in the second half helped Hirscher to catch Svindal.

Right now, for both men and women, the discipline with most races left is slalom and the discipline with least races left (excluding combined) is super-G. To take that into account, I made projected final standings where the unequal number of races in each discipline is taken into account. For this ranking, I counted skiers' average points this season in each discipline and multiplied them with the number of races in that discipline. For combined, I used last season's points as there has been no combined races this season.

I begin with women's standings as it seems more interesting.

Click to enlarge.

Lara Gut has had a great early season. But her best discipline is super-G. Maria Höfl-Riesch, on the other hand, is better than Gut in downhill and slalom, the two disciplines with most races. In general, the early season has had many speed events, and that's why e.g. Tina Maze should gain positions later in the season when there are more technical events.

Then, let's have a look at men's standings.

Click to enlarge.

The men's season has started quite similarly to last season, Svindal is great in speed events, Ligety great in giant slalom, and Hirscher dominates slalom plus is fastest after Ligety in giant slalom. Last winter, it was still quite soon obvious that Hirscher's almost constant top-2 finishes in technical events would be enough to pass Svindal later in the season. And despite these projected standings, I believe that will happen also this year. Svindal has not been as great as he was last year. And Hirscher not scoring points in the slalom in Val-d'Isère brought his average score from slalom down to 50 points. That is probably less than what it will be at the end of the season. If he can lift his points average from slalom over 70 points, then he should win the World Cup. That would require finishing most slaloms in top-2, which has been almost routine for him in the last two seasons.

Ted Ligety won three gold medals at the World Championships last winter. One could say that the man with three gold medals should be the favourite for the overall World Cup. Unfortunately for Ligety, his best disciplines are the ones with least races. And despite the World Championship, Ligety has only one podium finish in super-G in World Cup races. Also, not scoring points in three races so far is too much. In the projected final standings, he is even below the slalom-specialist Mario Matt. But it would be a wonder if Matt finished the season on the third place, I can't see him keeping up his 90-point average per race in slalom. 60-point average would seem realistic which would mean a top-6 result in the overall World Cup. But even if Ligety finished his season ahead of Matt, I am not sure if it were enough for a top-3 position in the overall World Cup. Hannes Reichelt, currently on the 5th position, should be able to come very close to Ligety in the overall standings.

I will be posting new projected final standings later during the season. Then there will have been more races and the points averages from each discipline tell more about the skiers true form for this season.

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