Pinturault wins WCup slalom: US prospect Winters ends 19th

Pinturault wins WCup slalom: US prospect Winters ends 19th
Luke Winters, of the United States, competes during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom in Val d' Isere, France, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti)

VAL D’ISERE, France (AP) — Alexis Pinturault won his first World Cup slalom in almost six years by a big margin Sunday, after American prospect Luke Winters could not sustain an unexpected challenge.

Pinturault extended his first-run lead to finish 1.44 seconds ahead of Olympic champion Andre Myhrer. Stefano Gross was third, a further 0.03 back.

The race was made more dramatic by Luke Winters of the United States, who soared from start bib No. 40 to be second-fastest in the opening run.

An aggressive second run saw the 22-year-old Winters make errors that dropped him to 19th place and out of contention for a first American podium in men’s slalom since March 2011.

Pinturault’s first slalom win since January 2014 positions him as a strong contender to follow the now-retired Marcel Hirscher’s eight-year run as overall champion.

The Frenchman now leads the overall standings from Henrik Kristoffersen, who lost his victory chance when almost skiing out in the first run. Kristoffersen had the fastest second run by more than a second to rise from 27th to fourth, 0.01 off the podium.

The last American to stand on a World Cup slalom podium was Nolan Kasper, who was runner-up at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, nine seasons ago.

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