Shiffrin third after first run in chase for world championship slalom history

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The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, in an attempt to become the first skier to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event, is in need of a second run like none other if she hopes to make history in Are, Sweden.

Shiffrin, battling a bad cold, cut back on her warmup routine prior to her first run in an attempt to conserve energy.

Shiffrin was the second skier on course and is currently third in the standings after her first run.

First run results are here.

“A lot of my run felt pretty good. Breathing is a little difficult, so that’s the only tricky thing,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports after her first run. “You gotta breathe to keep your energy through the entire run, so I was sort of managing that a little bit.

“To be honest, nobody races in perfect conditions, so I think I gotta toughen up a little bit.”

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener had the best time in run #1, followed by Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson. Holdener, Swenn-Larsson and Shiffrin are all bunched up at the top, with just over a tenth of a second separating Shiffrin from Holdener.

One likely issue facing Shiffrin and her competitors in run two will be skiing on a rutted track of soft snow. Race organizers have made every attempt to harden the surface, but their attempts may be in vain. 

“The second run is gonna be bumpy, and it’s gonna be a fight,” Shiffrin said.

Shiffrin has been dominant in slalom on the World Cup this season, winning six out of the seven slalom races held. Shiffrin’s biggest rival in slalom this season and winner of this week’s world championship giant slalom, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, also found herself behind the lead with the fifth-best time after her first run.

Catch the encore presentation of the first run of women’s slalom on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET and watch Mikaela Shiffrin chase history live in the second and deciding run of women’s slalom on NBCSN on TV and streaming beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

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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