Bassino leads Brignone as Italy sets pace in season opener

Italy's Marta Bassino speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Ph...
Italy's Federica Brignone speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (A...
Norway's Mina Fuerst Holtmann speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020...

Italy's Marta Bassino speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Ph...

Italy's Federica Brignone speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (A...

Norway's Mina Fuerst Holtmann speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020...

SOELDEN, Austria (AP) — Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone posted the fastest times in the first run of a women’s World Cup giant slalom Saturday as the Italian team set the pace in the season-opening race.

Bassino dealt best with flat light on the partly foggy Rettenbach glacier to time 1 minute, 9.54 seconds and lead her Italian teammate and defending overall World Cup champion by 0.58 seconds.

“I had a good feeling from the top to the bottom. It’s icy snow. I was skiing really well, also in training, so I tried to stay focused on myself,” Bassino told Austrian TV.

Bassino is chasing her second career win, after triumphing in the GS in Killington, Vermont, last season.

On a course set by the coach of her Norwegian team, Mina Fuerst Holtmann was 0.92 behind in third.

The rest of the field, led by Michelle Gisin and last year’s winner Alice Robinson in shared fourth position, had at least 1.18 to make up in the second leg.

Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin sat out the race. The American, who won here in 2014, tweaked her back in training two weeks ago and opted to rest.

No spectators were allowed as one of the precautionary health and safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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