LA VILLA, Italy (AP) Seeking his first career win, Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France held a slim lead over favorite Marcel Hirscher following the first run of the World Cup giant slalom in Alta Badia on Sunday.
Muffat-Jeandet reached the podium in the previous two GS races but has never finished better than second.
Taking advantage of the No. 1 bib and his coach having set the course, Muffat-Jeandet held a 0.05-second advantage over Hirscher with Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway third, 0.23 behind.
Olympic and three-time world champion Ted Ligety stood only 10th, 1.44 seconds back.
''I made a big mistake on the third gate where I had to hook it sideways,'' Ligety said. ''That's not ideal, especially on this snow. If you go a little bit sideways you lose a ton of speed. I felt like I skied OK in spots and just over-skied in other spots.''
Aksel Lund Svindal, the Norwegian who holds a 77-point lead over Hirscher in the overall standings, qualified for the second leg in 24th.
Kjetil Jansrud, who is third overall, missed the flip in 37th.
The rolls at the bottom of the steep and twisty Gran Risa course were made larger this year to accommodate Monday evening's experimental parallel GS race.
''They're super, super sharp,'' Ligety said. ''So that makes it a little bit more tough tactically down here.''
Organizers are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the race, with Swedish great Ingemark Stenmark having won the first edition in 1985.
Alberto Tomba holds the course record with four wins.
Italian veteran Massimiliano Blardone, who has three victories here, qualified for the second run in 21st position with the No. 56 bib.