Norwegian skier Holtmann leads women’s GS after first run

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COURCHEVEL, France (AP) — Norwegian skier Mina Fuerst Holtmann outpaced all pre-race favorites to lead a women’s World Cup giant slalom after the opening run on Tuesday.

Holtmann timed 1 minute, 7.15 seconds on a course set by her Norwegian coach Tim Gfeller to lead Italian duo Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone by 0.10 and 0.13, respectively.

Bassino and Brignone went 1-2 in the previous GS, in Killington last month.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was three-hundredths further behind in fourth, two days after winning a parallel slalom in St. Moritz.

Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who opened the race, seemed to have a clean run but finished 1.33 off the lead.

New Zealand teenager Alice Robinson, who edged Shiffrin to win the season-opener in Soelden in October, had 0.49 to make up in the second run.

Competing in her third season on the World Cup, Holtmann has had three top-10 results in giant slalom, including in both previous races this season, placing fourth in Soelden and ninth in Killington.

“It feels amazing. It was great to ski,” said Holtmann, who never led a World Cup after the first run before.

“It’s a new situation, but I love it,” she said.

Holtmann only competes in technical races on the World Cup although she excelled in speed events as a teenager, winning the downhill junior world title in 2015.

The race took place in spring-like conditions, with mild temperatures after the weekend had seen up to a meter of fresh snow.

Still, the course was “much better than expected,” Holtmann said. “It’s warm, it’s soft, but it’s holding up really well.”

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