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Pinturault leads slalom leg in World Cup super-combined

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The Canadian Press
1/17/2014 9:49:08 AM
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WENGEN, Switzerland -- Alexis Pinturault used his slalom skills to build a big lead in the opening run of a World Cup super-combined on Friday.

The Frenchman, who won in Wengen last year, timed 49.94 seconds in falling snow, 1.22 faster than Ted Ligety of the United States. Natko Zrncic-Dim of Croatia was third, trailing Pinturault by 1.50.

Ligety, the super-combined world champion, got the best conditions skiing first before the course quickly deteriorated.

"To run first was definitely an advantage. The snow was pretty bad up there," Ligety said. "I need to be faster than that against Pinturault and against guys like (Romed) Baumann."

Baumann, who earned bronze behind Ligety at the worlds last February, was fifth Friday, 2.15 behind Pinturault.

Olympic champion Bode Miller started wearing bib No. 25, yet placed seventh with 3.43 to make up in the afternoon downhill run on the adjoining hill.

"It didn't feel like slalom," Miller said. "Obviously three seconds is a long way. I'm going to go for it and we'll see."

Four years ago, Miller ended a run of poor results by winning the race in Wengen, and followed up one month later with super-combined gold at the Vancouver Olympics.

Organizers ran the slalom first Friday to give snow and cloud cover time to clear before a downhill run on a shortened, 3.1-kilometre (1.9-mile) Lauberhorn course.

Downhill specialist Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway was 22nd, 4.32 behind after starting No. 15.

"The ruts go out from the gate and never stop. It's impossible to stay tight to the gate," Svindal said. "Four seconds faster than Pinturault (in downhill)? That's going to be a tough one."

Svindal needs a top-10 finish to take the overall standings lead from Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who skips speed events.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, a six-time winner in slalom and super-combined in Wengen, went out early after straddling a gate.

Pinturault  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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