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BC-SKI--World Cup Finals,2nd Ld-Writethru

March 16, 2019
Alexis Pinturault became the most prolific French skier in World Cup history Saturday, winning a giant slalom for his 23rd victory. Pinturault retained his first-run lead to finish 0.44 seconds ahead of Swiss prospect Marco Odermatt, who earned a career-best result.

SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — Alexis Pinturault became the most prolific French skier in World Cup history Saturday, winning a giant slalom for his 23rd victory.

Pinturault retained his first-run lead to finish 0.44 seconds ahead of Swiss prospect Marco Odermatt, who earned a career-best result.

Zan Kranjec was third, trailing 1.03 behind Pinturault, who broke a tie with Carole Merle for the all-time record by a French racer. Merle got her 22 wins in giant slalom and super-G from 1988-93. Alpine great Jean-Claude Killy won 18 times.

Marcel Hirscher placed sixth, 1.74 back, having already clinched his fifth straight title in the season-long giant slalom standings.

“It’s really cool to have this globe,” Hirscher said, holding the crystal trophy he also won in 2012. “It’s surreal to have it for six years now.”

The Austrian star has also secured a record eighth straight overall World Cup title, though had his lead cut to 415 points by Pinturault ahead of the season-ending slalom on Sunday.

Mikaela Shiffrin is also chasing more World Cup history in the second run of a women’s slalom starting about 30 minutes after the men’s giant slalom on a busy, sun-bathed day in Andorra.

Shiffrin trailed Wendy Holdener by 0.28 seconds in the first run of the season’s final World Cup slalom on Saturday.

A victory for Shiffrin — who already won the season-long overall and slalom titles — would be the American star’s 40th in World Cup slalom and tie Ingemar Stenmark for the all-time record.

Holdener can shed an unwanted World Cup record if she clinches a first win in traditional slalom after 21 podium finishes.

No man or woman racer in the 52-year World Cup history has more top-three finishes in a single event without winning.

Petra Vlhova was third with 1.22 to make up on Holdener, the Olympic silver medalist, in the second run Saturday afternoon. Shiffrin and Vlhova have combined to win every World Cup slalom since January 2017.

However, the 2018 Olympic champion is Frida Hansdotter, who was 1.53 back in sixth in her final World Cup race before retiring.

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