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Meillard Leads World Cup Giant Slalom Marred By Ford Crash

Meillard Leads World Cup Giant Slalom Marred By Ford Crash

Loic Meillard led a strong challenge by the home Switzerland team on Saturday in the first run of a World Cup giant slalom marred by American racer Tommy Ford's serious crash.

ADELBODEN, Switzerland: Alexis Pinturault won a World Cup giant slalom for a second straight day on the storied Adelboden hill on Saturday, topping his superb performance from Friday.

Pinturault defied fast-fading light in the second run to post a huge winning margin of 1.26 seconds over Filip Zubcic, the runner-up on back-to-back days.

First-run leader Loic Meillard could not give Switzerland its first win since 2008 in its classic giant slalom. A big error early in his run left him 1.65 back in third place.

Pinturault’s third straight giant slalom victory was a 33rd career win in World Cup races, matching American great Bode Miller in ninth place on the men’s all-time list.

Pinturault seized the lead in the season-long giant slalom standings from home favorite Marco Odermatt, who placed fourth, 1.67 back.

The Frenchman also extended his lead in the World Cup overall points race ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, the defending champion. Kildes results fifth place, after fourth on Friday were impressive for the speed race specialist.

Pinturaults wire-to-wire win Friday had also been by more than a second, though he noted the light was more challenging Saturday. At Adelboden, the slope darkens quickly after the sunshine slips behind the mountains around 2 p.m. when the leaders start their second run.

Earlier Saturday, American racer Tommy Ford was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital after crashing hard near the finish line.

The United States team said Ford was conscious and talking to medical staff who treated him on the course.

The Adelboden giant slalom typically draws a noisy crowd of 25,000. There were no paying spectators Saturday during the coronavirus pandemic though racers were cheered on by people watching from neighboring slopes and chalets.

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