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Noël wins World Cup slalom; Kristoffersen leads overall

WENGEN, Switzerland (AP) — Clément Noël skied through steadily falling snow to protect his first-run lead and win a World Cup slalom on Sunday. Noël was only 17th fastest down the second gate-setting yet stayed 0.40 seconds ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen, who retook the overall World Cup standings lead.

Alexander Khoroshilov's fast second run lifted him to finish third, 0.83 behind Noël, for the 35-year-old Russian’s best result in almost three years. Fourth-fastest in the morning run, Alexis Pinturault straddled a gate when poised to set the fastest time and gave up top spot in the season-long overall points chase to Kristoffersen.

Kristoffersen also leads the slalom discipline standings from Noël, rising above Daniel Yule who won the previous two World Cup slaloms. Yule tied for fifth Sunday, 0.90 back. Noël has learned to peak in January which is the busiest time in the slalom calendar.

The 22-year-old Frenchman’s fifth career World Cup win was his fourth in January, including at Wengen last year. Six of his eight World Cup podium finishes have been in January. Noël’s victory was built on taking advantage of wearing start bib No. 1 in the first run. Getting first use of a smooth race surface he was two-thirds of a second faster than Kristoffersen.

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