Updated: Monday, 23 December 2013 02:40 | By Agence France-Presse

Hirscher triumphs in Alta Badia giant slalom

Austrian Marcel Hirscher held on to his first leg lead to triumph in the men's World Cup giant slalom at Alta Badia on Sunday.

Hirscher triumphs in Alta Badia giant slalom

Austria's Marcel Hirscher celebrates after winning the Alpine World Cup Men's Giant Slalom, on December 22, 2013 in Alta Badia

Hirscher, claiming his 21st World Cup win and second in the giant this season after Val d'Isere last week, clocked a winning time of 2min 37.45sec.

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault was second at 0.35sec and American Ted Ligety third at 0.58.

"It was an awesome race," Hirscher said. "If only you knew how bad my skiing and my feelings were yesterday.

"I doubt anyone would ever believe I could win today. Somehow I still showed some really good skiing in the end and I couldn't be happier."

The Gran Risa course is considered one of the toughest giant slalom courses in the world, 1.2km long and featuring a 448-metre vertical drop, meaning the best technical skiers shine through.

Hirscher said it had been a real confidence booster to win when double world giant slalom champion Ligety was skiing so well.

"It was really, really important for me to win when Ted is competitive," he said. "I have done everything I possibly could to get closer to Ted and it's tough to get faster and faster but it was worth it."

Pinturault said he was proud of his podium placing.

"It's a great feeling knowing I can compete with the best," he said. "I didn't do any special preparation for today but after Val d’Isere I did some tests with the material.

"I was not very happy with my set-up in Beaver Creek and Val d'Isere and I finished just off the podium, we changed a few things and today it worked so I hope to continue on this path."

Ligety was left ruing the softer snow conditions.

"Normally the Gran Risa is so icy and this year the snow was so easy that it was hard to push. That's what I trained for," the American said.

"Still, I think I could have pushed a bit more especially in the first run but its okay, it's how it goes.

"You need to be able to be both quick on your feet and make quick judgment calls and my judgment call was a little bit off today.

"Any podium is a great podium, even though today was by some two seconds off from what I normally do but it’s still something to be happy about."

The men next meet up after Christmas for the speed races in Bormio, Italy.

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