Austrian skier Feller leads Braathen at slalom in Kitzbuehel

Sports

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Manuel Feller posted the fastest opening-run time in a men’s World Cup slalom Sunday, positioning himself to become the first Austrian skier in six years to win the classic race.

Feller avoided mistakes on the icy Ganslern course to build a lead of 0.31 seconds over Norway’s Lucas Braathen.

Linus Strasser of Germany was 0.50 back in third, while Olympic champion Clément Noël of France had 0.53 to make up in the second run.

Henrik Kristoffersen, who won the classic slalom at Wengen last week, was among the many racers who struggled on the slippery rolls in the middle section of the course. The Norwegian trailed Feller by 1.45 seconds.

Coming into the race, Kristoffersen led the slalom season standings ahead of Braathen.

The Norwegian team has won eight of the last nine slaloms, with Swiss skier Daniel Yule’s victory in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, last month as the only exception.

Feller is after his third career win and first in almost two years. His best result in Kitzbuehel was fifth place in 2018, a year after record eight-time overall champion Marcel Hirscher was the last Austrian winner.

The slalom in Kitzbuehel is the first of three technical races in Austria within four days, with a night slalom on Tuesday and a GS on Wednesday scheduled for Schladming.

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