SOELDEN, Austria (AP) — Gino Caviezel took a narrow lead in the first run of the season-opening men’s World Cup giant slalom Sunday as the top seven were separated by just three tenths of a second.
In sunny conditions, the Swiss skier mastered the icy course on the Rettenbach glacier and timed 1 minute, 8.13 seconds.
Zan Kranjec, Henrik Kristoffersen and Alexis Pinturault all finished within 0.15 seconds of Caviezel's time.
Defending overall World Cup champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde failed to finish. The Norwegian came wide on a left turn and lost his right ski when he caught a bump.
Caviezel’s career best World Cup result is sixth, from a parallel GS in Italy two years ago.
The GS has become a wide-open discipline since the retirement of Marcel Hirscher. The dominant Austrian won the GS season title six times in seven years before ending his career in 2019.
Last season, Kristoffersen scooped the title, but Pinturault, Croatia’s Filip Zubcic and Kranjec all finished within 30 points of the Norwegian’s tally after seven races.
The Russian team was excluded from Sunday’s race after coronavirus tests of two of its coaches came back with unclear results.
The team, including racers Pavel Trikhichev, Alexander Andrienko and Ivan Kuznetsov, was isolated awaiting results of retests.
No spectators were allowed at the race as one of the precautionary health and safety measures amid the pandemic.
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