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Slovenian skier Kranjec leads GS in Italy in dense snowfall

Zan Kranjec overcame dense snowfall to post the fastest time in the opening run of a men’s World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.

Racing in flat light, the Slovenian skier had an aggressive run down the Deborah Compagnoni course to build a lead of 0.46 seconds over Marco Odermatt.

Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault was two-hundredths, and Odermatt’s Swiss teammate Loic Meillard three-hundredths further back.

Switzerland's Marco Odermatt competes during the first run of an alpine ski, World Cup men's giant slalom in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

American racer Tommy Ford trailed by six tenths in fifth.

Kranjec is after his third career win. His six podium results so far all came in GS, most recently in January, when he won the classic race in Adelboden.

The Norwegian team struggled in the opening run.

France's Alexis Pinturault competes during the first run of an alpine ski, World Cup men's giant slalom in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP PhotoAlessandro Trovati)

Defending overall champion Alexander Aamodt Kilde and GS world champion Henrik Kristoffersen both trailed by just over a second, while Lucas Braathen had 2.14 to make up in the second run.

The 20-year-old Braathen became the youngest winner of a World Cup race in six years when he won the season-opening GS in Soelden in October.

Course workers cleared the slope of up to 80 centimeters (31 inches) of fresh snow during the night.

United States' Tommy Ford competes during the first run of an alpine ski, World Cup men's giant slalom in Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

The event was moved from Val d’Isere because of a lack of snow in the French resort.

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