Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 65th World Cup win — and her first of 2020 — by taking a downhill in Bansko, Bulgaria on Friday.
Shiffrin’s second career downhill victory came in by .18 of a second over giant slalom rival Federica Brignone of Italy. Swiss Joana Haehlen was third, .23 behind. Full results are here.
“It’s a technical hill, for sure the most technical track on the speed circuit, so I was looking forward to coming here because that maybe suits me a little bit better than some of the other typical speed tracks,” Shiffrin said. “I find that really interesting to learn a new track. It’s like a puzzle or something, It was pretty exciting to put everything together today.”
Shiffrin, racing in Bansko for the first time, had not won her previous five races, all in her more favored disciplines of slalom, giant slalom or the combined. Her fourth-place training run on Thursday showed that her first downhill win since December 2017 was possible.
“I wasn’t expecting this today,” Shiffrin said of the first of back-to-back downhill days in Bansko, “and I’m not expecting it for tomorrow.
“I felt a little bit nervous for this race because the last time I was on my downhill skis was in Lake Louise [in early December], so it felt like a really long time ago. I felt a little bit strange on my skis yesterday.”
Shiffrin, with her tour-leading fifth win this season, moved two shy of recently retired Austrian Marcel Hirscher for fourth place on the career list. Ingemar Stenmark (86 wins) and Lindsey Vonn (82) hold the top two spots.
Shiffrin and the world’s top racers tackle another Bansko downhill on Saturday (4:15 a.m. ET) and a super-G on Sunday (3:15 a.m.) on NBC Sports Gold.
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