Dopfer leads Hargin after 1st run of men's World Cup slalom

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KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) Henrik Kristoffersen used a blistering second run to win a men's World Cup slalom on Sunday, becoming the first skier to triumph in the classic slaloms in Adelboden, Wengen and Kitzbuehel in the same year.

Having won four of the first five slaloms this season, the Norwegian looked out of contention this time after coming 0.85 seconds behind in 12th in a poor opening run.

But he surpassed all rivals in a breath-taking final run for an historic win.

''Incredible, what's happening?'' Kristoffersen said in disbelief. ''After the mistake in the first run, it was hard to believe this was still possible.''

Kristoffersen finished in 1 minute, 43.96 seconds to edge Marcel Hirscher of Austria by 0.03. Fritz Dopfer of Germany, who led after the first run, dropped to third, 0.45 behind.

It was Kristoffersen's eighth career slalom win, making him the most successful Norwegian in the discipline as he overtook the all-time best mark of seven set by Finn Christian Jagge.

''The hill in Kitzbuehel is incredible,'' Kristoffersen said about the tricky Ganslern course, which threw many racers off. Only 40 out of 84 starters managed to finish their first run on the icy course full of waves.

''It's very cool. This is maybe the coolest win of my life,'' he said. ''To finish three-hundreds ahead of Marcel and to do that in Kitzbuehel is amazing.''

Kristoffersen went further ahead in the slalom standings to lead Hirscher by 580-420 points. The Austrian won the World Cup slalom title the past three seasons.

Kristoffersen could also become a contender for the overall championship after Norwegian teammate Aksel Lund Svindal was ruled out for the season.

Svindal, who underwent surgery after damaging his right knee in a downhill crash Saturday, still leads with 916 points, but it's only a matter of time before he will be overtaken.

Hirscher, chasing his fifth overall title in succession, is second with 889, while Kristoffersen is third with 771.

Kristoffersen, however, was reluctant to speculate about his chances to earn the big crystal globe.

''It's very sad what happened to Aksel, but I guess that is Kitzbuehel. You have to get it out of your head because you can't change it,'' he said. ''Marcel is very strong in GS so it's going to be very difficult for me to compete for the overall.''

Hirscher was full of praise for his Norwegian rival. The Austrian was fourth after the opening run despite being hampered by a broken pole.

''Henrik is in an awesome form. He is the best man,'' Hirscher said. ''But I told him that losing by a few hundredths is starting to annoy me.''

Hirscher has been the only one to beat Kristoffersen in a slalom this season as they went 1-2 in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy, in the first race of 2016.

Acknowledging Kristoffersen's dominance, Hirscher said he was ''super happy'' to come runner-up after he failed to finish a slalom in Wengen last week and also the slalom portion of the combined event last Friday.

First-run leader Dopfer earned his ninth career podium finish but is yet to win a race. Only Austria's Mario Scheiber (13) and Italy's Paolo De Chiesa (12) have more top-three results without ever winning a World Cup event.

''I am only beaten by the two best slalom skiers in the world. I can accept that,'' said Dopfer, who used a well-balanced run to take the lead after the opening leg.

Many racers skied too aggressively and were thrown off by one of the many waves on the icy slope.

''You have to slow down in some parts,'' Dopfer said.

Last year's winner Mattias Hargin of Sweden, who was second after the opening run, dropped to fourth, 0.79 behind Kristoffersen.

Alexander Khoroshilov of Russia, who shared fourth with Hirscher going into the final run, straddled a gate and didn't finish.

The first run was interrupted after the first starter, 2010 Olympic champion Giuliano Razzoli of Italy, crashed and was airlifted to hospital. According to a spokesman for the Italian ski team, Razzoli possibly tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and will undergo further tests by team physicians in Milan.

The men's World Cup continues with a floodlit slalom in Schladming on Tuesday.