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Shiffrin refocusing, recuperating with eyes on slalom, GS

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ARE, Sweden — Following a stressful Olympic year, Mikaela Shiffrin has been scaling back her schedule at every opportunity this season.

Her latest move involved leaving the site of the world championships in Sweden soon after her super-G victory Tuesday to recharge and prepare for next week’s giant slalom and slalom.

Austrian media reported that Shiffrin left Are by helicopter for training in Trysil, Norway — forcing her ski technician to haul her equipment in a drive of six-plus hours across the border to catch up with her.

“She’s going off the grid for a bit, wants to keep it private,” the U.S. Ski Team told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Since she will not be competing in Friday’s Alpine combined race, Shiffrin has more than a week before her next events of giant slalom and slalom on Feb. 14 and 16. She is expected back in Are on Monday.

“The slalom and GS are her main goals and targets,” U.S. head coach Paul Kristofic said.

At last year’s Pyeongchang Olympics, Shiffrin got stressed out by schedule changes and postponements and followed her gold-medal performance in giant slalom with only a fourth-place finish in slalom — her best event.

Shiffrin will be a big favorite to win both the GS and slalom in Are, putting her in position to match Anja Paerson’s three-gold performance from the 2007 worlds at the same venue.

“She has the capacity to, absolutely,” Kristofic said.

Paerson actually won five medals in 2007, winning super-G, combined and downhill plus silver in the team event and bronze in the slalom.

Shiffrin won’t compete in Sunday’s downhill or Tuesday’s team event.

“She’s competitive in everything she starts,” Kristofic said. “It’s outstanding and astonishing and it’s hard to put into words. … It’s a huge challenge and she’s up for it all the time.”

No medal for David Boudia as China extends perfect run at diving worlds

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David Boudia is very much a work in progress in his first year as a springboard diver. That much was evident in his dive list for Thursday’s final at the world championships, where Boudia had the lowest total degree of difficulty.

Boudia, a four-time Olympic platform medalist who earned individual platform silver at his last three world championships, took fifth in the springboard final in Gwangju, South Korea while performing easier dives than the other 11 men.

It marked Boudia’s first major international meet since Rio. He took 2017 off from diving to sell homes. In February 2018, he suffered a concussion on a badly missed dive in training off the 10-meter platform, sparking the switch to springboard, a common move for divers late in their careers.

Boudia will spend the next year — the next six months in particular — trying to close the gap on the medalists. China’s Xie Siyi and Cao Yuan went one-two.

Great Britain’s Jack Laugher was in position to become the first non-Chinese diver to take gold in 10 events this week before failing his last dive for 30.6 points, the lowest-scoring dive of the 72 in the final. Laugher scored at least 9.0s on his first five dives, including a 10, before recording between 2s and 3s from the seven judges in the last round and squandering a 31.1-point lead.

Laugher had 21.6 points in difficulty in Thursday’s final. Xie had 21.3 and Cao 21.2. Boudia had 19.9, arguably putting him out of the running for the podium before he stepped on the springboard.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, accomplished his goal for worlds simply by making the final.

Boudia and Rio Olympian Michael Hixon reached the top 12 to ensure the U.S. gets two men’s springboard spots at Tokyo 2020, to be filled at June’s Olympic trials in Indianapolis. Hixon, who was 10th in Rio and 20th at the 2017 Worlds, finished seventh in Gwangju.

Diving worlds continue with the women’s springboard final, featuring Chinese Olympic champion Shi Tingmao but no Americans, on Friday. The men’s platform final is Saturday.

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Chris Froome wins 2011 Vuelta a Espana

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) — Chris Froome has become the 2011 Spanish Vuelta winner because of Juan Jose Cobo’s disqualification for blood doping.

The International Cycling Union says Cobo did not meet a deadline to challenge his three-year ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI says Cobo’s suspension announced last month is confirmed, and he is stripped of results at the 2009 world championships and Vuelta, and the 2011 Vuelta which he won.

Froome was runner-up eight years ago and becomes the winner of his first Grand Tour title, and seventh overall.

Froome also becomes the first British winner of any of the major stage races — the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or Vuelta.

That honor was held by Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour winner who rises from third to be runner-up at the 2011 Vuelta.

The 38-year-old Cobo is retired from racing. His doping ban was announced days after Froome suffered season-ending injuries crashing at the Dauphine race in France.

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