Petra Vlhova narrows gap to Mikaela Shiffrin with World Cup win

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Slovakian Petra Vlhova cut into Mikaela Shiffrin‘s lead for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by winning a giant slalom in Are, Sweden, on Friday.

Vlhova, the Olympic slalom champion, prevailed on Friday by 1.24 seconds over Italian Marta Bassino combining times over two runs. Shiffrin placed third, moving up from sixth after the first run.

“I felt like my skiing [in the second run] had a bit more fire, and I had mostly hoped I wouldn’t move back a bit, so it’s quite incredible to have moved up a couple of places,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard.

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Vlhova moved from 117 points behind to 77 points shy of Shiffrin with five races left this season: a slalom on Saturday and one in each of the four disciplines at the World Cup Finals in France next week.

A race winner receives 100 points, with 80 points to second place and 60 for third place on a descending scale through 30th place.

Last year, Vlhova became the first Slovakian to win the overall.

Shiffrin won three overalls in a row from 2017-19 and is looking to tie Lindsey Vonn for second place in women’s history at four, trailing only Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won six in the 1970s.

Shiffrin was set back in the autumn due to a back injury, though didn’t miss any races for it. She did miss two races in December after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Swede Sara Hector, the Olympic GS gold medalist, straddled in her second run with a chance to clinch the season title in the discipline. Her lead in the GS standings was cut from 55 points to five points over Frenchwoman Tessa Worley going into the World Cup Finals race.

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