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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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Puppy born with rare green fur in Italy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A little, green dog born in Sardinia, Italy is melting hearts.

Meet Pistachio. He was named after the green color of his fur.

Newborn puppies are rarely born with green fur. Experts say this happens when light-colored puppies have contact with a green pigment called Biliverdin, while in their mother's womb.

Pistachio was the only one out of his seven brothers and sisters to be born green, Pistachio's owner Cristian Mallocci told Reuters.

His color will fade as he gets older.

Mallocci said green is the symbol of hope and luck. They call him their "little star," to bring smile and a little bit of joy to everyone during these tough times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pistachio isn't the only puppy born with unusual colored fur. Earlier in the year, a German shepherd puppy turned heads in North Carolina when he was born with bright lime green-colored fur.

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