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Defending GS champion Ligety takes World Cup season-opener

The Canadian Press

10/27/2013 9:18:56 AM

SOELDEN, Austria -- Ted Ligety maintained his dominance in giant slalom by taking the season-opening World Cup race by a 0.79-second winning margin Sunday, while Bode Miller finished 19th upon his return to the circuit following a 20-month injury layoff.

Ligety, who won six of eight races last season and defended his world title in GS, held on to his massive 0.90-second first-run lead to finish in an aggregate 1 minute, 59.50 seconds.

Alexis Pinturault of France came second, and overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria was 1.02 behind in third.

While winning his 18th career title -- all in GS -- Ligety became the first to win the season opener in three straight years, and he matched Austrian standout Hermann Maier's three victories on the Rettenbach glacier in 1998, 2000 and '05.

Toronto's Phil Brown started 38th and finished 41st in the first run in 1:05.36. Calgary's Erik Read started and finished 60th, while Dustin Cook of Lac-Sainte-Marie, Que., started 65th and finished 64th and Toronto's David Donaldson started 43rd but did not finish his run in his World Cup debut.

Only the fastest 30 racers from the first run advance to the second in giant slalom races.