Alpine skiing-France's Pinturault takes men's combined gold at worlds

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Men's Alpine Combined - Meribel, France - February 7, 2023 France's Alexis Pinturault celebrates winning the Men's Alpine Combined alongside second place Austria's Marco Schwarz and third place Austria's Raphael Haaser REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) -Frenchman Alexis Pinturault won the men's combined event at the World Ski Championships in Courchevel, France on Tuesday after two solid runs saw him finish in first and third place in the super-G and slalom respectively.

Pinturault was one of the favourites after winning seven of the last 10 combined races in the World Cup before it was discontinued in 2020.

The 31-year-old was fastest down the slopes in the super-G a sixth of a second quicker than Austrian Marco Schwarz and was 0.53 behind Norwegian Atle Lie McGrath in the slalom leg.

"I think I made not an amazing slalom but a good and strong slalom especially with the number one, because it's really difficult when it's tricky to know where you can push and where you have to control a bit more," Pinturault said adding that he had looked forward to the event.

"It's since two years that I have the world championships in Courchevel in my head.

"It's racing the world championships in France, but when it's your home town it's something even more special," said Pinturault, who grew up in the area.

Schwarz did not manage to close the gap to Pinturault in the slalom and came second overall, one tenth of a second behind, reversing the 1-2 position from the 2021 worlds event.

"Slalom was very difficult today, especially the last part," Schwarz said.

"It was really tight and a lot of combinations. I had a little mistake (at a gate)...but it's part of the game and I'm happy with the silver medal."

Fellow Austrian Raphael Haaser finished third, 0.44 of a second behind Pinturault.

The Frenchman won the combined event at the 2019 World Championships in Are, Sweden and finished second two years later in Cortina d'Ampezzo. He also claimed silver at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in the combined.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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