The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova were locked in an Alpine ski battle for the second time this weekend in Maribor. A day after the two friendly rivals happily shared first place in giant slalom, Shiffrin and Vlhova laid down thier opening runs in slalom, with Shiffrin holding an edge of a full second at the break.
Vlhova pushed Shiffrin in the second run of Friday’s GS, but could she do it again in slalom, an event Shiffrin has owned on the World Cup, winning more than half the races she’s entered — 37 wins in all.
The previous slalom held this season was won by Vlhova, who’s second run was fast enough to relegate Shiffrin to second, stopping Shiffrin one win short of tying the most-consecutive World Cup slalom win record of eight. In the last 17 slalom races staged on the World Cup stretching back to March 2017, the top podium spot has either gone to Shiffrin (13 wins) or Vlhova (4 wins).
With race time air temperatures in the mid-50s, and a second run course set to help mitigate ruts in the soft surface around the gates, Vlhova dropped in just ahead of Shiffrin, while Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson sat at the bottom of the hill as the current leader.
Vlhova could not produce a second run like she had in Friday’s GS to contend for the win, crossing the finish with the fourth best combined time. It’s the first time this season Vlhova has not appeared on a World Cup slalom podium.
Shiffrin, with her biggest challenger out of the podium picture, started her event closing run by picking up time early and never relenting. Despite conditions being less than ideal, Shiffrin crossed the finish to win her third-consecutive slalom in Maribor. Swenn Larsson joined Shiffrin on the podium in second with Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finishing third.
With two slalom events remaining on the World Cup calendar this season, Shiffrin can tie the all-time slalom win record for a man or woman, set by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.
The win is also Shiffrin’s 13th victory this season. The entirety of the women’s World Cup field has a combined win total of just 14.
The women’s tour now turns its focus to the biggest event of the year, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden. Shiffrin has said she plans to compete in Super-G, giant slalom and slalom and potentially the super combined. Racing kicks off with the women’s Super-G, where the U.S.’ Lindsey Vonn, who sent shockwaves through the Alpine world with her recent retirement announcement, is expected to compete. Vonn has also said she will race in the downhill.
This morning heavy snowfall in Garmisch-Partenkirchen forced the cancellation of the final men’s downhill before next week’s World Championships. The men’s giant slalom is still on the schedule for Sunday morning in GaPa, with the first run beginning at 4:30 a.m. ET and the second run at 7:30 a.m. ET. Watch the first run on OlympicChannel.com or with the NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. Catch the second run live on TV or streaming with Olympic Channel or NBC Sports Gold.
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