Tessa Worley

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Tessa Worley, world champion Alpine skier, out several weeks

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PARIS (AP) — Tessa Worley, a two-time world champion Alpine skier, had surgery on her right knee and will miss several weeks of World Cup racing.

Worley, who is among Mikaela Shiffrin‘s main rivals in giant slalom, posted an update Tuesday on Instagram from her hospital bed. She suggested a return to training before the end of the season.

The 30-year-old French racer took gold in giant slalom at the 2013 and 2017 worlds, and has 13 World Cup race wins in her specialist discipline. She also competes in super-G.

Worley finished third in the season-long giant slalom standings last year won by Shiffrin. She also placed third in the season-opening giant slalom at Soelden, Austria.

She said she had the operation to be free of the pain she felt when skiing recently. Her last race on Dec. 28 earned eighth place in a giant slalom won by Shiffrin in Lienz, Austria.

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World Cup Alpine season opener gets green light

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After checking the snow on the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, FIS officials announced Thursday that the traditional World Cup season opener is set to go ahead as planned Oct. 26-27 with men’s and women’s giant slalom races.

Current conditions at Soelden show a solid 30 inches of snow at the summit. The race finishes at an altitude of 2,670 meters (8,760 feet), far above the currently snowless village.

The first races of the season are never guaranteed to have enough snow, though last year’s men’s race at Soelden had the opposite problem, being canceled when a storm blew through with heavy snowfall and high winds. 

France’s Tessa Worley won the women’s race last year ahead of Italy’s Frederica Brignone and U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who would go on to dominate the rest of the World Cup season.

The Soelden weekend is followed by three dormant weeks until the season resumes Nov. 23-24 in Levi, Finland. The World Cup circuits then switch to North America. The men will run speed events Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Lake Louise, Alberta, then head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for more speed events and a giant slalom Dec. 6-8. The women run slalom and giant slalom Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in Killington, Vt., and head to Lake Louise the next weekend.

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Mikaela Shiffrin, Petra Vlhova share win in Maribor giant slalom

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The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin returned to World Cup racing after a short recharging hiatus looking to win her third giant slalom of the season and extend her lead in the FIS GS point standings. Adding a giant slalom crystal globe win to her prolific list of accolades has been a goal for Shiffrin since the beginning of the season.

Shiffrin led the field by just under a half second after run #1 was complete. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was positioned behind Shiffrin in second, with the reigning GS world champion, France’s Tessa Worley in third.

Vlhova, who entered the day fifth on the list of GS points, displayed the improvements she has made in her skiing this season. In her second run in Maribor, Vlhova burst through the finish to take the lead by .93 hundredths of a second. Before Vlhova, Worley’s day was ruined when her skis caught a rut on course, significantly slowing the French skier on her way to the finish.

With Worley unable to make the podium, and Vlhova well behind Shiffrin in the GS point standings, Shiffrin had the option to back off a touch, and still earn enough points from the race to retain her lead for the crystal globe.

Shiffrin appeared to do just that, at least in the section of the course which took Worley out of contention, but upon nearing the finish, Shiffrin began to make a charge. But instead of winning outright, Shiffrin crossed the finish, dead even with Vlhova with a combined two-run time of 2 minutes 31.31 seconds.

“It was a fight in the second [run],” Shiffrin said after the race. “I almost lost it at the bottom. It’s always nice when you kind of have this luck.

“I saw Petra from the start and I was like, “Okay, I better up the ante a little bit.””

Full results are here.

Joining Shiffrin and Vlhova on the podium was Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel in third. Worley finished the day in ninth, making Shiffrin’s quest for her first GS crystal globe one that is hers to either win or lose. There now remains just two GS events on the 2018-19 World Cup calendar.

The women are back on the Slovenian snow tomorrow to race slalom. Stream the first run live on OlympicChannel.com or with your NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass starting at 4:00 a.m. ET, and catch the second and deciding run at 7:00 a.m. ET on TV or streaming with Olympic Channel or NBC Sports Gold.

The men’s World Cup tour starts their weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with the downhill on Saturday morning beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET. Catch the race live on  Olympic Channel on TV, or stream it live on all devices using an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass.

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