Alpine skiing: Hirscher wins giant slalom

Austrian Marcel Hirscher won his second World Cup race of the season on Saturday as he took the giant slalom at Val d'Isere for the second year in succession.

The 24-year-old slalom world champion -- world silver medallist in the giant slalom -- beat home Frenchman Thomas Fanara while last year's runner-up Stefan Luitz of Germany was third.

Fanara's compatriot Alexis Pinturault failed to defend his first-leg lead and finished fourth.

For Hirscher, who won his first World Cup race at Val d'Isere in 2010, it was his first win in the giant slalom discipline since his triumph here last year and 20th World Cup victory in all.

"You inform me that it is my fourth success here and my seventh podium finish but I am not interested in statistics at this stage of my career," said Hirscher.

"I am only thinking of skiing and I had to produce my best skiing if I was to win."

Hirscher's task was made simpler when the dominant skier in the event, American Ted Ligety, failed to finish the first leg -- victory also saw Hirscher take the lead in the giant slalom standings.

"Of course one has to pose the question would any of us have won had Ted Ligety been involved in the second leg as he has beaten us in the preceding months," said Hirscher.

Luitz was especially delighted to have got on the podium.

"I injured my cruciate ligament in my right knee last February," he said.

"To be back on the podium 10 months after the injury is fantastic."

Fanara had timed the same as Hirscher in the first leg but was unable to repeat the feat in the second, conceding 76 hundreths of a second to the Austrian, but nevertheless recorded the fourth podium finish of a career which has been badly affected by injuries.