Pinturault leads WCup GS ahead of Hirscher, Neureuther

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Alexis Pinturault of France led a men’s World Cup giant slalom by 0.61 seconds after the opening run Saturday.

Pinturault timed 1 minute, 9.48 seconds in warm and sunny conditions on the Podkoren course to lead Marcel Hirscher of Austria and Felix Neureuther of Germany, who shared second.

Hirscher will win the season’s GS title if he finishes 19th or better, or if world and Olympic champion Ted Ligety doesn’t win the race. The American, who has won here six times, was 1.49 behind in sixth after the first run.

Pinturault is chasing his ninth career win but first in GS since February 2013.

It’s the final GS before the World Cup finals in Meribel, France, next week.