Alpine Skiing: Hirscher dominates World Cup slalom

Marcel Hirscher of Austria lived up to the tag of favourite by winning the first World Cup slalom race of the season at Levi on Sunday.

The 24-year-old world champion in the discipline clocked 1 minute 45.42 seconds for a commanding win over countryman Mario Matt with Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway third.

Last season Hirscher made every World Cup slalom podium and finished first five times as he stormed to the World Cup title and his win on Sunday confirmed him as the man to beat in the build-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Hirscher set the bar high early on by taking the first leg in style ahead of Germany's Felix Neureuther and Mott with 19-year-old Kristoffersen in fourth place.

And he never looked in difficulty second time down, skiing well within himself to conserve his big lead.

"It's never easy to come into a race as the big favourite," said Hirscher, the winner of the last two overall World Cup titles.

"But it's always a lot of fun and I exceeded my own expectations. I am just delighted to be skiing so fast this early in the season.

"Over the next few days I intend to get in some practice at home, then I will head for the United States in around 10 days to get ready for the giant slalom and the super-G."

Mott said he too was happy with his first race of the season even though he had made a few mistakes.

"There are some things I need to put right, but I am pleased I was able to reproduce some of the things I have been showing in training," he added.