Pinturault pips Hirscher for season-opening Solden win

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Alexis Pinturault laid down a marker by edging out the great Marcel Hirscher to win the giant slalom in the opening race of the men's FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup season in Solden on Sunday.

Hirscher is eyeing an unprecedented sixth overall title after reeling off five in a row, but the Austrian was unable to start the new campaign on a high note in his homeland.

Frenchman Pinturault, runner-up to Hirscher in the giant slalom in each of the last two seasons, edged out the legendary 27-year-old by just 0.70 seconds on the Rettenbach glacier.

Pinturault won four giant slalom races last season and now has seven to his name in the World Cup after he was quickest in both runs.

The Olympic bronze medallist set the pace with a blistering opening run of one minute 4.38 seconds wearing bib five and vowed to attack in the second, clocking 1:09.63 to top the podium.

Hirscher began he defence of his title with a first run of 1:04.55 in Tirol and a second attempt of 1:10.16 was not quick enough to deny Pinturault victory.

Felix Neureuther took third place, which was occupied by Justin Murisier after the opening run but the Swiss dropped down seventh.

Ted Ligety, a five-time crystal globe five times in this discipline, finished fifth in his first race since recovering from a serious knee injury sustained back in January.