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Swiss skier Meillard wins parallel GS, gets discipline title

CHAMONIX, France (AP) — Loic Meillard won the last men’s World Cup parallel giant slalom of the season on Sunday to wrap up the discipline title. Meillard beat Thomas Tumler by 0.25 seconds in an all-Swiss final of the event, which has a knockout format and sees two competitors race side-by-side on identical, shortened giant slalom courses, with run times just over 20 seconds.

Meillard placed ninth in the only other parallel GS this season, in Alta Badia in December. Most racers who did well in the previous event, including winner Rasmus Windingstad, went out early on Sunday, opening the way to the discipline title for Meillard.

The Swiss skier had four previous podium results on the World Cup, most recently in a regular giant slalom in Garmisch-Partenkirchen last week, but Sunday’s win was his first. Alexander Schmid beat Tommy Ford of the United States by 0.28 in the small final for the German’s first career top-three result.

Henrik Kristoffersen remained in the lead of the overall World Cup standings. The Norwegian was beaten by Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec in the last 16, but one of his main challengers, Alexis Pinturault, also went out in the same round, losing to Schmid.

All eight runs in the last 16 were won by the racers on the blue course, which appeared to be faster than the red one. The early exit of Kristoffersen and Pinturault gave Aleksander Aamodt Kilde the chance to go top of the standings if he won the event, but the Norwegian lost his quarterfinal run and ended up in seventh.

Sunday’s event was the sixth parallel GS in the history of the World Cup, but the first outside Alta Badia. The men’s World Cup continues with a downhill on Thursday, followed by a super-G the next day, in Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria. The races were initially scheduled as Olympic test events in Yanqing but were moved from China because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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