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, Finland (AP) Felix Neureuther of Germany won
the season-opening men’s World Cup slalom on Sunday after first-run leader Dave
Ryding skied out.

Aiming to become the first British skier to win a race in the 50-year-history
of the Alpine skiing World Cup, Ryding put in a dominant performance.

He led second-place Neureuther by 0.14 seconds after the opening leg and
stretched his advantage to 0.51 in the final run before a mistake threw him off
the course. He lay on his back in the snow for several seconds before getting up
and skiing down.

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It was the second time that Ryding came close to a World Cup triumph. He also
led after the first run of the slalom in Kitzbuehel in January before finishing
runner-up to Marcel Hirscher.

Ryding, who turns 31 next month, enjoyed his breakthrough on the World Cup
last season Cheap
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, four years after winning the slalom title of
the lower-tier Europa Cup circuit.

”I have been very lucky that Dave went out. He was extremely fast,”
Neureuther said after finishing in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.83 seconds to
beat Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway by 0.37 and Mattias Hargin of Sweden by
0.45.

”Winning my first race being a father makes it even more special,” said
Neureuther Cheap
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, whose partner Miriam Goessner, a
professional biathlete and cross-country skier, gave birth to daughter Matilda
last month.

It was Neureuther’s 13th career victory but first since winning a slalom in
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, in January 2016. The 33-year-old German has
been hindered by persistent back problems in recent seasons.

Hirscher was 1.32 behind in 17th spot in an unexpected appearance just 87
days after breaking his left ankle. The Austrian six-time overall champion only
resumed training earlier this week.

Hirscher’s mishap occurred in August on his first day back on snow in the
offseason. He was back on skis in early October but was forced to take another
four weeks off because his ankle was still hurting too much.

”The first run was super, that went sensationally well,” said the Austrian,
who was in fourth spot after the opening leg before several mistakes on the
final run cost him.

”In the end I hoped for a better result,” Hirscher said. ”But I have a lot of
motivation to get my speed back. Today showed me that at the moment I am still
lacking the class of the other guys.”

The race in Finnish Lapland was the first of the Olympic season after a giant
slalom in Austria was canceled because of bad weather two weeks ago.

The men’s World Cup continues with speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, on
Nov. 25-26.

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