Hirscher extends lead after giant slalom victory

Austria’s three-time overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher extended his lead at the top of this season’s standings on Saturday as he won the giant slalom at the Swiss resort of Adelboden.

The 25-year-old, who was fastest over the first leg, posted an overall time of 2min 39.11sec to beat Frenchman Alexis Pinturault and young Norwegian star Henrik Kristoffersen.

German skier Felix Neureuther produced a disappointing final run to drop from second to fifth overall.

Hirscher, who had a disappointing Olympics last year winning just a silver in the slalom, said he was flummoxed by why he was so successful.

“It is always good to win especially here which is one of the hardest races,” said Hirscher.

“I do not know what the secret is behind my winning so many races.

“I just did a solid first run and I was 100percent perfect in the second.

“What makes Adelboden so special is that from start to finish the crowd lets you know how well you are doing and that is cool. When you arrive at the finishing line there’s so much noise you think you’re entering a football stadium.”

Pinturault, Olympic bronze medallist in the grand slalom, blamed mistakes on his first run for his failure to win though he added Hirscher was in formidable form.

“Marcel is really very strong this season in giant slalom, better than ever in fact, but also in the slalom he is difficult to beat,” he said.

The 23-year-old held up a piece of paper on the podium with the words ‘je ski Charlie’ (I ski Charlie) in tribute to the victims of the shootings that began at the satirical weekly magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in Paris on Wednesday and resulted in 17 deaths overall by the time the perpetrators were shot and killed on Friday.

“For me it was important to show solidarity with the events which happened in France. Maybe one day it will happen here in Switzerland, for one never knows when these attacks can happen and it is good to show solidarity.”

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