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Feller, Gstrein tie for lead in tight World Cup slalom

Teammates Manuel Feller and Fabio Gstrein tied for the lead in a tightly contested World Cup slalom Sunday that opened up when three pre-race favorites failed to finish the first run.

The two Austrians were just 0.05 seconds faster than Luca Aerni of Switzerland. Henrik Kristoffersen was fourth with only 0.09 to make up in the second run.

Aerni and Gstrein, both chasing a first career World Cup win, wore bib Nos. 16 and 17 starting immediately after a commercial break gave time for workers to smooth the course in steadily falling snow.

France's Clement Noel leaves the course during the first run of an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Adelboden, Switzerland, Sunday, Jan.9, 2022. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

Early start numbers typically give top-ranked racers the best racing conditions but winners of the first two slaloms this season skied out.

World champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, wearing No. 1, slid out four gates from the end and No. 3 Clement Noël went out early in his run.

A crash for Kristoffer Jakobsen, who was tied for the slalom standings lead with Foss-Solevaag, turned him around and sent him sliding into a finish-line structure.

Fans gather during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Adelboden, Switzerland, Sunday, Jan.9, 2022. (AP PhotoGabriele Facciotti)

When snowfall eased for low-ranked starters with bibs in the 30s, Austrians Johannes Strolz and Marc Digruber posted top-10 times within 0.33 of the lead.

More than 20 racers were within one second of Feller and Gstrein ahead of the second run in the afternoon.

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Norway's Sebastian Foss Solevaag speeds down the course during the first run of an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Adelboden, Switzerland, Sunday, Jan.9, 2022. (AP PhotoGiovanni Maria Pizzato)