More Alpine skiing World Cup Finals races canceled, overall title chases near end

Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals
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Slovakian Petra Vlhova and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault moved closer to their first overall titles after Alpine skiing World Cup Finals races were canceled for a second consecutive day on Thursday.

Adverse weather, notably fog, wiped out the women’s and men’s super-Gs in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, after all of the downhill training runs and downhill races were canceled due to snowfall and winds from Monday through Wednesday.

By rule, World Cup Finals races cannot be rescheduled. A mixed-gender team event is scheduled Friday.

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That means that Vlhova takes a 96-point lead into the last two individual races, a Saturday slalom and Sunday giant slalom, over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami. On a descending scale of points, a race winner receives 100.

Vlhova, the 2019 World champion in the giant slalom and world No. 1 in the slalom, likely clinches the crown on Saturday given Gut-Behrami last raced a slalom in 2017. No Slovakian has won a World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

The 2016 overall champion Gut-Behrami’s best chances to make up ground on Vlhova were in the downhill and super-G. She’s ranked Nos. 3 and 1 in the world in those disciplines, respectively, but missed opportunities to rack up more points with Wednesday and Thursday cancellations.

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Similarly in the men’s title race, Pinturault benefited from not holding the speed races. The 29-year-old Frenchman, the most successful male World Cup skier yet to win an overall, leads 23-year-old Swiss Marco Odermatt by 31 points.

While Odermatt and Pinturault rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world in giant slalom (scheduled for Saturday for the men), Odermatt hasn never raced a World Cup slalom. Pinturault ranks eighth in the world in slalom, making two podiums this season.

Odermatt is a stronger speed-events skier and particularly strong in super-G. He ranks second in the world in that event, but with Thursday’s cancellation, the season title went to Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr, who finished with an 83-point advantage.

Mikaela Shiffrin is due to race the slalom and GS this weekend. She won the slalom season title six of the last eight years, the outliers being when she missed races. This year, having started every slalom, she trails Vlhova by 37 points.

Even with a win, Shiffrin would need help to move from third place to first in the final standings. If Vlhova finishes first or second, she takes the crystal globe.

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