kranjska gora

Mikaela Shiffrin wins 40th World Cup race in rout (video)

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KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Shortly after winning her 40th career World Cup race on Sunday, overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin drew praise from one of her main rivals for “taking the sport to another level.”

Beaten by 1.64 seconds in a slalom on the Podkoren course, Frida Hansdotter had mixed feelings about the American’s dominance.

“It’s frustrating, but it is also good for the sport,” said the Swede, the only skier other than Shiffrin to win the season-long World Cup slalom title in the past five years.

Shiffrin has won 20 of the last 25 slaloms she competed in, and finished on the podium in four of the other five races. Her 29 slalom wins in total leaves her six short of the record set by Austria’s Marlies Schild.

“She is super fast,” Hansdotter said. “All of us want to ski faster than her but she is on another level. We need to train harder and ski faster.”

The Olympic slalom champion certainly was fast while taking a 1.47-second lead in Sunday’s opening leg, which Shiffrin called “maybe the best run of slalom I have ever done in a race.”

It was the fourth straight slalom race where Shiffrin held a first-run lead of more than a second, a huge margin in a sport often decided by hundredths of a second.

“I let it go down the hill and I am really, really happy with my skiing that run,” said Shiffrin, who also triumphed in Saturday’s giant slalom on the same course. “I am always looking to do the skiing that I do in training. That feels really good, it’s confident, it’s flowing. The surface is incredible and froze overnight so it’s just so much fun to ski.”

Shiffrin posted the third-fastest time in the final leg and beat Hansdotter once again, while Wendy Holdener was 1.87 behind in third for the Swiss skier’s 13nd career slalom podium without winning — a World Cup record.

“Sometimes it’s frustrating but it is still a good fight,” Holdener said.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, the only skier to beat Shiffrin in a slalom this season, was 2.18 behind in fourth.

The result put the American level with Sweden great Ingemar Stenmark for the number of World Cup victories before turning 23.

Only Annemarie Moser-Proell won more races (41) at that age, and Shiffrin can match the Austrian great’s record at a night slalom in Flachau on Tuesday.

“I have so much fun skiing today,” said Shiffrin, who has won seven of the last eight races, including all four in 2018. “I feel so like in a good place, it doesn’t feel like I am dreaming, it doesn’t feel like it’s something crazy that’s happening. It just feels like I am skiing really well and I am starting to feel that in the races more and more.”

Her two wins this weekend easily earned Shiffrin the Golden Fox Trophy, which adds the slalom results to those of Saturday’s GS.

It was another confirmation that Shiffrin, initially excelling in slalom, has become a consistent winner in both technical disciplines.

“That’s huge, that has been one of my goals since forever,” Shiffrin said. “So it’s so cool now that I can be a contender for the win in both slalom and GS.”

Shiffrin’s triumphant run has seen her lead in the overall standings increase to 721 points over second-place Holdener, while she leads Vlhova in the slalom standings by 235 points.

Not that she will take anything for granted because, as Shiffrin said, “there are quite a few who have the ability to win. It’s still competition.”

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Ill Mikaela Shiffrin stays historically hot with 6th win in 7 races (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin is off to the hottest start to a calendar year of any female skier in 29 years, despite a nasty illness.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion won her third straight race to start 2019 — and sixth in her last seven World Cups — taking a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday.

Shiffrin vomited several times leading into the race, NBC Sports’ Steve Porino said.

“It’s not very pleasant to talk about,” she said. “I was a little bit sick the last couple of days, but a lot of the girls have been sick. I didn’t think it was an excuse for today.”

The last woman to win the first three races of a calendar year was Swiss Vreni Schneider in 1989.

Shiffrin and Schneider benefited from all of those races being technical events of slalom and giant slalom (in Shiffrin’s case, she has made the podium in seven straight races, all tech events.)

Shiffrin prevailed Saturday by .31 of a second over world champion Tessa Worley combining times from two runs. Shiffrin had the fastest opening run by .86 and held on despite the 21st-fastest second run.

Full results are here.

“[Giant slalom] has been the hardest event to get my confidence and to get consistent with,” said Shiffrin, who owns six World Cup GS wins versus 31 in slalom. “I don’t necessarily feel like I’m the best GS skier right now.”

Shiffrin now leads this season’s World Cup standings in the overall, downhill, giant slalom and slalom. The only discipline she does not lead is super-G through 17 of a scheduled 38 races.

She could break Slovenian Tina Maze‘s record for most World Cup points scored in one season — 2,414.

But the Olympics come first, and Shiffrin is looking like a favorite for three gold medals.

Shiffrin, 22, also moved halfway to Lindsey Vonn‘s female record of 78 World Cup wins. Vonn had seven World Cup wins at age 22.

Also Saturday, Megan McJames became the second U.S. Alpine skier to qualify for the Olympics after Shiffrin. It’s McJames’ third Olympic team.

The women’s Alpine World Cup continues with a slalom in Kranjska Gora on Sunday with coverage on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. The event was moved from Maribor.

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German wins World Cup slalom 3 weeks after car crash (video)

Felix Neureuther
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German Felix Neureuther put a forgettable Olympics behind him, winning the first post-Olympic slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday.

Neureuther clocked a two-run time of 1 minute, 45.50 seconds for his fourth win this season, taking the lead in the World Cup slalom standings by five points with just the World Cup Finals left next Sunday.

Another German, Fritz Dopfer, was second, .59 behind. It marked the first time in World Cup history that German men went one-two in a race. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen took third.

Austrian Olympic champion Mario Matt led after the first run but straddled a gate near the finish in his second run and fell across the line. U.S. Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety was 16th.

Neureuther, 29, got into a car accident on his way to a Munich airport to fly to the Sochi Olympics on Feb. 14. He then performed poorly at the Games, taking eighth in the giant slalom and failing to finish his second slalom run. He had whiplash, rib and back injuries.

“The last weeks were really so hard for me with my car accident and then the Olympics and everything,” Neureuther said Sunday. “Winning after such a tough time for me out here is really something. It’s really amazing.”

The race for the overall World Cup title got a little more interesting Sunday, too.

Austrian Marcel Hirscher was fifth, grabbing 45 points to retake the lead over Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal by four points.

Hirscher is trying to become the third man to win three straight World Cup overall titles and the first since American Phil Mahre from 1981-83.

The title will be decided at the four-race World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, beginning Wednesday. It could be very close given Svindal stars in the speed events downhill and super-G, while Hirscher is a giant slalom and slalom specialist.

Kranjska Gora Slalom
1. Felix Neureuther (GER) 1:45.50
2. Fritz Dopfer (GER) 1:46.09
3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 1:46.29
4. Patrick Thaler (ITA) 1:46.36
5. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 1:46.45
6. Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) 1:46.64
7. Mattias Hargin (SWE) 1:46.76
8. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 1:46.78
9. Markus Larsson (SWE) 1:46.84
10. Axel Baeck (SWE) 1:47.13
10. Stefano Gross (ITA) 1:47.13
10. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) 1:47.13
16. Ted Ligety (USA) 1:47.54
23. Will Brandenburg (USA) 1:47.99
26. Nolan Kasper (USA) 1:48.11

Video: Shiffrin takes slalom title, inspired by girl with leukemia