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Kristoffersen gets 1st-run lead in last slalom before worlds

Henrik Kristoffersen showed glimpses of his best slalom skills Sunday as he posted the fastest first-run time in the final World Cup race before the world championships.

The Norwegian won the slalom season title for a second time last year but a victory in Italy in December has been his only podium finish from eight races in the current campaign.

A day after he skied out a few seconds into his opening run of a slalom on the same course, Kristoffersen had an attacking, fluent run on the La Verte des Houches.

Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

The Norwegian led by six-tenths of a second halfway through his run before finishing with an advantage of 0.23 over overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault.

Marco Schwarz trailed by 0.44 in third. The Austrian skier leads the discipline standings by 162 points and could wrap up the season title by extending that lead to more than 200 points.

Schwarz’s main challenger, Sebastian Foss-Solevåg of Norway, finished the opening run 0.95 off the lead.

France's Alexis Pinturault speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (AP PhotoMarco Tacca)

Clément Noël, who won the race on home snow Saturday, came off the race line when his skis crossed and nearly failed to make the next gate. The Frenchman recovered but finished 2.77 seconds off the lead and didn’t qualify for the final run.

Kristoffersen is chasing his 19th career slalom win, and 23rd overall.

A win would put him in shared second place with Kjetil Jansrud on Norway's all-time winners list. Only Aksel Lund Svindal had more wins, 36, when he retired two years ago.

Austria's Marco Schwarz speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Chamonix, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

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