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Brignone leads 1st run of giant slalom; Shiffrin 4th

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin competes during the first run of an alpine ski, World Cup women's giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) — Racing on home snow, Federica Brignone led the opening run of a strenuous giant slalom race Saturday while overall World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin was nearly a half-second behind in fourth.
Brignone finished 0.17 seconds ahead of Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, with German veteran Viktoria Rebensburg 0.36 back in third.
Shiffrin was 0.42 behind Brignone, the Italian who is poised to extend her lead in the overall standings in the discipline.
Brignone, the Olympic bronze medallist in GS, is aiming for her 13th career World Cup win and third this season.
With racers requiring more than 70 seconds to complete the Giovanni Agnelli course, it marked one of the longer tests on the women’s circuit.
“It’s tough,” Brignone said. “Just what we needed.”
Mina Fuerst Holtmann, the Norwegian who entered the race fourth in the standings, fell midway through her run.
It marked the first time that the World Cup stopped in Sestriere, which hosted races during the Turin Olympics in 2006, in four years.
Conditions were perfect, with sunny skies after overnight snow on the upper section.
Lower-ranked skiers were still coming down the course.
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