France's Pinturault wins World Cup giant slalom

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Alexis Pinturault of France used a daring second run to win a World Cup giant slalom Sunday as his closest German challengers faltered.

Pinturault was second after the first heat, behind hometown favorite Felix Neureuther and ahead of Fritz Dopfer. But Dopfer crashed out in the second run and Neureuther made a mistake that dropped him down to 12th in the ranking. Germany was seeking its first men's giant slalom victory in 40 years.

World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher of Austria and world champion Ted Ligety of the United States profited from the Germans' mistakes to take second and third, respectively.

Pinturault clocked a combined time of 2 minutes, 32.42 seconds for his second win of the season and his first giant slalom victory.

"I have good memories from Garmisch, I also won the junior giant slalom title here in 2009," said Pinturault, who now has three career World Cup victories.

Hirscher overcame a stomach virus to extend his overall World Cup lead. He was 0.60 seconds behind the winner and Ligety was 0.63 back.

Ligety, the GS specialist who also won two other gold medals at the worlds in Schladming, Austria that concluded one week ago, was fifth after an error-filled first run. The American also made a mistake in the second heat, losing his line at the same spot where Neureuther nearly went off the course.

Ligety had won four of the previous five giant slaloms this season and would have set a record with fifth. His third place was his worst finish in the event this season.

"Third place is not what you want to be getting at this stage, but I'll take it," Ligety said. "In the first run I just made a ton of little mistakes. In the second I was lucky not to get into too much soft snow in that turn. You have to take risks."

Hirscher, who was silver medalist at the worlds behind Ligety, now has a 209-point lead overall over Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who finished sixth.

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