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Federica Brignone of Italy won the alpine ski season World Cup opener at Solden on Saturday, dominating a giant slalom ahead of US favourite Mikaela Shiffrin.

It was the Italian's first ever World Cup win and came four years after she let a first leg lead slip in the same race by falling on her second run.

Brignone was nearly a second clear after the first leg and she never looked like giving that up despite slalom queen Shiffrin applying extra pressure.

The Italian won by a 0.85seconds margin over Shiffrin with third place going to Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein.

"It is so great," the 25-year-old Brignone said. "I'm so happy about this first win. I have been close sometimes in the past but I thought it had never happened because I didn't deserve to be there.

"Last season was good but didn't bring enough satisfaction so I took some time off in the spring.





"Then I decided to train as hard as ever and I even have a new physical trainer. This good preparation enabled me to push until the end and that felt so good."

Brignone's triumph may well herald a season of upsets as the women's World Cup field has been shorn of many of its top talents.

Overall chamnpion Anna Fenninger is out of contention after rupturing knee ligaments in training for Solden, while Slovenian Tina Maze is taking a year out to consider her future in the sport.

American speed queen Lindsey Vonn, meanwhile, has yet to return to action after sustaining a serious ankle injury in August although she is hopeful of being fit again for the races in Aspen and Lake Louise at the end of November.

The men's World Cup gets underway in similar fashion with a giant slalom at Solden on Sunday before a three-week gap leading up to two slaloms at Levi Finland on November 14-15. afp