Pinturault leads Hirscher by 0.09 seconds in giant slalom

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Marcel Hirscher displayed all his class to beat Alexis Pinturault and claim his 20th World Cup giant slalom victory on Sunday, avenging his recent narrow defeat to the French skier in Adelboden.

Trailing Pinturault by 0.09 seconds after the first run, the five-time defending overall champion charged hard in the second, clocking 1 minute, 20.10 seconds.

It was left to Pinturault to catch him but he progressively lost more time and a mistake before the end left him fourth overall, 2.05 seconds behind Hirscher, who finished 1.50 seconds ahead of Matts Olsson of Sweden.

''Cool that I won. But I needed a lot of energy for today's race. We all did,'' Hirscher said of the difficult conditions. ''Still, it was a great giant slalom. A challenge for everyone but I think we should be challenged in the World Cup. There's no class above it.''

Germany's Stefan Luitz was third, 1.95 behind, ahead of Pinturault, Mathieu Faivre and Felix Neureuther, the last German skier to win a World Cup race in Garmisch after his slalom victory in 2010.

Hirscher, who lost by just 0.04 seconds to Pinturault in their previous giant slalom duel at Adelboden, made it back-to-back wins in the discipline at Garmisch.

It was Austria's 100th giant slalom win, making it the first country to reach that mark in the disciple.

Technical specialist Hirscher equaled his tally of 20 wins in slalom races, joining Ingemar Stenmark as the only skiers to have won at least 20 World Cup races in two different disciplines. Swedish ski icon Stenmark won 46 giant slalom and 40 slalom races.

''The 20 are super, it's good for me. It's a mark that few have reached,'' Hirscher said. ''It's a huge achievement over the last few years in giant slalom.''

The Austrian now has 43 World Cup wins altogether, though he still has some way to go before matching Stenmark's 86.

Neither Hirscher nor Pinturault has won a major title in giant slalom but that looks likely to change at the world championships in Switzerland at St. Moritz. The giant slalom race is Feb. 17.

Hirscher now has two wins in the discipline this season, and was runner-up to Pinturault on each of the French skier's three victories. The Austrian stretched his lead in the season-long GS standings to 94 points with two races worth a maximum 200 points left.

The finals week race is scheduled for March 18 at Aspen, Colorado. Hirscher leads Henrik Kristoffersen by 432 points in the overall standings. The Norwegian was seventh in Garmisch. Pinturault trails by 497 overall.

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