Pinturault wins opening giant slalom in Soelden

Sölden (Austria) (AFP) –


Alexis Pinturault won the opening men's World Cup event of the new ski season with victory in the giant slalom at Soelden on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Frenchman, who was runner-up to the now-retired Marcel Hirscher in the overall title last year, set the pace in the Tyrolian sunshine on the first run with a quickest time of 1min 7.10secs.

With the shadows stretching across the piste, he then produced a perfect second run of 1min 7.06 to ensure his second win at Soelden.

"It's fantastic, the second run was really good," he said at the end.

"Two solid runs. It was very hard on the second run as I couldn't see very much.

"Last time I made a start like this was 2016. It's a good sign for the future."

It was his 24th World Cup victory, his 12th in giant slalom.

Pinturault finished 0.54 seconds ahead of fellow Frenchman Mathieu Faivre, who made the podium for the seventh time, with the Slovenian Zan Kranjec edging out the American Tommy Ford for third.

Former Olympic champion Ted Ligety was fifth.

Marco Odermatt was third quickest on the opening run but a mistake midway down the second left the Swiss in 13th.

The Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who was runner-up to Hirscher in the giant slalom last year, failed to make an impact, an error on his second run leaving him 18th.