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FEBRUARY 26 2012 18:05h

Italy's Blardone wins mushy giant slalom


CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Massimiliano Blardone of Italy overcame rough snow conditions Sunday to win the World Cup giant slalom in Switzerland with Austrians placing second and third.

Blardone turned in a combined time of 2 minutes, 33.77 seconds with Austria's Marcel Hirscher, the overall World Cup points leader, in second at 2:33.93 and Hannes Reichelt in third.

Ted Ligety was the top U.S. finisher, taking ninth place in 2:35.06.

Warm weather at Crans Montana caused the course to become soft and slow, particularly in the second run. Blardone's second run was one of the slower ones but he had turned in a sparkling 1:15.27 in the first run before the snow had deteriorated so much.