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Skier Hirschbühl leads Austrian 1-2 at WCup parallel race

November 14, 2021 GMT
Austria's Christian Hirschbuehl celebrates winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup parallel event, in Lech/Zuers, Austria, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
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Austria's Christian Hirschbuehl celebrates winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup parallel event, in Lech/Zuers, Austria, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)
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Austria's Christian Hirschbuehl celebrates winning an alpine ski, men's World Cup parallel event, in Lech/Zuers, Austria, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

LECH-ZÜRS, Austria (AP) — Austrian skier Christian Hirschbühl edged teammate Dominik Raschner in the final of a men’s World Cup parallel event Sunday for his first career victory.

Watched on by 3,000 spectators in his native state of Vorarlberg, Hirschbühl was .5 of a second behind after the first run but won by .07 on aggregate after the decisive leg.

“It’s a relief and a dream come true,” said Hirschbühl, whose previous best World Cup result was fourth place at the slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, in January 2017.

Both Austrians defeated a Norwegian opponent in the semifinal: Hirschbühl upset Henrik Kristoffersen, coming from behind after the first run to win by .18, and Raschner beat Atle Lie McGrath, who failed to finish his second run.

McGrath won the duel for third place against Kristoffersen by .15.

While Raschner won the qualification event in the morning hours, Hirschbühl posted only the 15th-fastest time, just enough to advance to the floodlit main event in the afternoon.

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He vastly improved in the actual race, defeating Zan Kranjec and Trevor Philp before eliminating Kristoffersen.

“It’s crazy,” Hirschbühl said. “After those two runs I never thought I could qualify. But I did and now I did a pretty good event. I never thought I could beat Raschner, he was always the fastest. But it’s part of the game. I won and I’m overwhelmed.”

In a parallel event, two competitors race side-by-side on identical, shortened giant slalom courses, with run times just over 22 seconds. They both have one run on each course, and the shortest aggregate time determines the winner.

Marco Odermatt, who won the season-opening GS three weeks ago, and 2020 overall champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde were among the most notable absentees. They sat out the race as they were preparing for the start of the speed season, with two downhills and a super-G coming up in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Nov. 26-28.

Parallel world champion Mathieu Faivre missed the race because of a sprained left ankle.

Defending overall World Cup champion Alexis Pinturault failed to qualify for the main event.

Pinturault posted the fastest time in his first qualifying run on the red course but skied through a gate near the end of his second run on the blue course.

His French teammate Clément Noël, Filip Zubcic, Stefan Luitz and Luca De Aliprandini also failed to make it out of the qualifying competition.

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