Petra Vlhova snaps Mikaela Shiffrin’s slalom win streak

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Slovakian Petra Vlhova ended Mikaela Shiffrin‘s slalom win streak at just shy of a year, routing Shiffrin by 1.31 seconds under the lights in Zagreb, Croatia.

Shiffrin won the previous six World Cup slaloms dating to February. Vlhova, fastest in both runs Saturday, recorded the the largest margin of victory for anybody over Shiffrin in a slalom since November 2014 (not counting Shiffrin DNFs).

Full results are here.

“Some days, I am so-so. With Miki, you have to be always perfect,” Vlhova said. “If I want to win, I have to risk all the time.”

Shiffrin’s deficit after the opening run — 1.16 seconds — marked her largest in a slalom in nearly three years. She lost eight tenths to Vlhova during a section in which she slipped coming off one gate, putting her left hand on the ground to rebalance.

“Even if I had no mistake, I think Petra would have been faster,” Shiffrin said. “The only way I could have won is if she skied out or made some really, really big mistake. … That’s not something special for her. She’s able to do that. It wasn’t like she had the best run of her life. She just skied really well. I think she can do this again and again and again.”

A day earlier, Shiffrin posted video of a rare fall in slalom training that left her with a sore hip. Coach Mike Day said he could count on one hand the number of times he’s seen Shiffrin hit the snow in slalom training, NBC Sports analyst Steve Porino said.

Vlhova, who is 24 and three months younger than Shiffrin, has been the American’s only slalom rival the last few years. The duo combined to win the last 24 World Cup slaloms (19 for Shiffrin, five for Vlhova). Vlhova’s staff has been known to film Shiffrin’s training sessions.

Shiffrin’s mom and longtime coach said in 2017 that the four-inches-taller Vlhova “skis like Mikaela more than Mikaela skis like Mikaela,” according to the Denver Post.

“Since Petra has been much stronger these last few years, that definitely brings my motivation to another level,” Shiffrin said Saturday. “They are one of the few teams who have been able to, in a way, outdo what I have been able to accomplish with my team. I have a lot of respect for that.

“If we weren’t competitors, we would be really good friends. But there’s also this side, you have to stay just far enough away that you can keep the fire.”

Vlhova finished a distant second to Shiffrin in last season’s World Cup overall standings, plus won the world championships giant slalom. This season, Shiffrin holds a comfortable 313-point lead in the overall standings over Vlhova through 13 of 39 scheduled races. Each race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale.

Shiffrin remains on 64 career World Cup wins, 18 shy of Lindsey Vonn‘s female record. She also remains tied with Vonn for the most wins for a woman in a single discipline of 43.

The men race in Zagreb on Sunday (11:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold). The women move to Austria for a downhill and combined next weekend. Shiffrin was hopeful to race as of early this week.

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MORE: Shiffrin among 10 dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s decade

Chloe Dygert crashes over guard rail at world championships, has surgery

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American Chloé Dygert crashed over a guard rail at the world road cycling championships time trial, where she appeared en route to a repeat title, and underwent leg surgery as a result.

Dygert, who last year won by the largest margin in history as the youngest-ever champion, lost control of her bike while approaching a curve to the right. Her front wheel bobbled, and she collided with the barricade, flipping over into an area with grass.

Dygert, who had a left leg laceration, was tended to by several people, put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, about 25 miles from the worlds host of Imola.

“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been,” USA Cycling chief of sport performance Jim Miller said in a press release. “While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter. With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”

About 10 minutes after the crash, Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won her first time trial title.

Van der Breggen took silver the last three years behind Dygert and countrywoman Annemiek van Vleuten, who missed this year’s race after breaking her wrist last week in the Giro Rosa.

Dygert, 23, had a 26-second lead at the 14-kilometer time check of the 31-kilometer race. Full results are here.

Dygert qualified for the Tokyo Olympics when she won last year’s world time trial title. She has been bidding to make the Olympics on the road and the track.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s time trial airing on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold for Cycling Pass subscribers at 8:15 a.m. ET. A full TV schedule is here.

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MORE: USA Cycling names Olympic team finalists

2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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