The 27-year-old was the second man out of the gate and he put 0.18 between himself and the opening rider, Henrik Kristoffersen, clocking a pace-setting time of 1:09.97.

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Zan Kranjec and Thomas Fanara followed Pinturault out of the gates and although they were quick they couldn’t match the leader.

2017 gold medallist Marcel Hirscher rode out in fifth and came the closest to catching Pinturault, although the gap is more than enough for him to make up in the second run despite an inconsistent first ski.

So far this season Hirscher has set a blistering pace in Giant Slalom, leading Kristoffersen and Pinturault by 238 and 264 points in the World Cup standings respectively.

The Austrian is bidding to win his seventh World Championship gold medal, which will put him level with compatriot Toni Sailer as the most golds for men.

Speaking after his run Fanara revealed how tricky the going was at the top of the run.

Actually it is a little bit difficult this afternoon on the race because the first part until the jump it’s steeper than the rest so we have a lot of sun on the slope so the salt hasn’t worked on the snow so it is a little bit soft and it is difficult.

Kristoffersen was optimistic despite trailing two riders saying "I feel okay, pretty good, a little soft on the top but then good conditions in the lower parts. We're eighteen hundredths off so everything is possible."

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