Alpine skiing: Hirscher wins his first giant slalom gold

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Austria's gold medalist Marcel Hirscher walks past Norway's bronze medalist Leif Kristian Haugen. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Marcel Hirscher of Austria in action. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Austria's gold medalist Marcel Hirscher reacts at the finish line. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Austria's gold medalist Marcel Hirscher is flanked by his country fellow and silver medal winner Roland Leitinger (L) and Norway's bronze medalist Leif Kristian Haugen. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Marcel Hirscher of Austria in action. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships - Men's Giant Slalom - St. Moritz, Switzerland - 17/2/17 - Austria's gold medalist Marcel Hirscher reacts at the finish line. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Marcel Hirscher led Austria to a one-two in the men's giant slalom on Friday for the fifth world championships gold medal of his illustrious Alpine skiing career but first in the discipline.

The five times overall World Cup champion, and current leader, beat team mate Roland Leitinger to the top step of the podium to make up for missing out in 2013 and 2015 when he won silver.

Hirscher also finished second in the combined in St Moritz.

"It's an unbelievable feeling after one of the toughest races we've had this season so far," the 27-year old said in a podium interview. "I am very thankful for this."

Hirscher will go into Sunday's slalom, the final event of the championships, as strong favorite for a golden double after a pair of superb runs saw him edge Leitinger by 0.25 seconds.

Leitinger climbed from sixth position after the first run to capture the silver medal while Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen moved up from seventh to bronze.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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