Slovenia's Zan Kranjec speeds down the course during an alpine ski, men's World Cup giant slalom, in Alta Badia, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
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LA VILLA, Italy (AP) — Olympic silver medalist Zan Kranjec led the opening run of the Alta Badia giant slalom on Sunday while overall World Cup leader Marco Odermatt struggled in ninth place.

Kranjec, a Slovenian skier, posted a significant advantage ahead of two Norwegians.

Henrik Kristoffersen stood 0.60 seconds behind Kranjec in second and Lucas Braathen was 0.73 back in third.

Odermatt, who appeared fatigued following several days of downhill racing in Val Gardena, had 1.42 to make up in the second leg later on the Gran Risa course.

Kranjec trailed Braathen at the final checkpoint but made up time on the flatter bottom section.

At the Beijing Olympics last winter, Kranjec was the only racer to seriously challenge Odermatt, who took gold amid a blizzard.

Odermatt won the opening two giant slaloms this season while Kranjec finished second and third in Sölden, Austria, and Val d'Isere, France, respectively.

Still, Odermatt can extend his lead in the overall category, after Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who is second in the standings, didn't finish his run.

Kranjec is chasing his third World Cup win, which would match Jure Kosir, the bronze medalist in slalom at the 1994 Olympics, as the most by a Slovenian man.

River Radamus and Tommy Ford, the top American GS skiers, both had trouble.

Radamus, who finished fourth at the Olympics, fell down on his left hip on the upper section and didn’t finish. Ford also lost control and had to check his skis to make the next gate, eventually crossing nearly 5 seconds behind.


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