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World Cup leader Schwarz gets slim lead in 1st run of slalom

Austrian skier Marco Schwarz posted the fastest time in a tight opening run of a men’s World Cup slalom on Saturday.

Chasing his third win of the season, Schwarz built a slim lead over Ramon Zenhäusern and Clément Noël, who were 0.02 and 0.03 seconds behind, respectively.

On a course softened by persistent rain, Schwarz trailed Zenhäusern by 0.32 at his final split time but used a flawless finish to edge the Swiss skier, who had opened the race.

Austria's Marco Schwarz speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP PhotoMarco Tacca)

Noël led Schwarz by nearly two-tenths of a second early in his run, but the Frenchman lost his advantage on the bottom section.

Schwarz, who leads the discipline standings, was on the podium in six of the previous seven slaloms this season and is the only skier to have won more than once.

Sebastian Foss-Solevåg of Norway was 0.42 seconds behind in fourth, followed by Schwarz’s teammates Michael Matt and Manuel Feller as Austria had three racers in the top six.

Switzerland's Ramon Zenhaeusern speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP PhotoMarco Tacca)

Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault had 0.88 to make up in the final leg.

Henrik Kristoffersen, who won the slalom season title for a second time last year, continued his disappointing campaign, skiing out after a few seconds as the Norwegian straddled the second gate.

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France's Clement Noel speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP PhotoMarco Tacca)