Shiffrin wins giant slalom race to seal World Cup title

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SOLDEU, Andorra — Another race won, another crystal trophy earned, another World Cup record written by Mikaela Shiffrin.

Shiffrin won a giant slalom Sunday to seal the season-long standings title and, while shedding a few tears in the finish area, lifted a record-tying fourth World Cup crystal globe in the same season.

“I wanted to come out here today and really earn it. Really earn it and deserve it,” said Shiffrin, whose 17th World Cup win this season extended her own record.

A fourth discipline title in one season matched the women’s World Cup record jointly held by Lindsey Vonn (2010, 2012) and Tina Maze (2013).

Shiffrin needed only a top-15 finish to ensure closest challenger Petra Vlhova could not overhaul the American star’s points total.

Instead, the Olympic giant slalom champion retained her first-run lead in style to finish 0.30 seconds ahead of 17-year-old Alice Robinson. Vlhova was third, 0.41 back.

While Shiffrin is the undisputed current star of women’s Alpine skiing, a bright future was seen Sunday for Robinson. She earned her World Cup finals entry by winning the giant slalom at the junior world championships last month.

The New Zealand prospect got her first career podium when just six months older than Shiffrin was getting her first top-3 finish, in a December 2011 slalom.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Robinson told Swiss broadcaster RTS. “It’s crazy, so cool to share the first podium with Petra and Mikaela. They’re such great skiers.”

Shiffrin’s four crystal globes tops the three earned by the men’s standout Marcel Hirscher.

Hirscher already clinched the slalom titles, and a record-extending eighth straight overall title, before the final race Sunday.

Seeming fatigued by a long season, Hirscher was sixth-fastest in the first run, trailing 1.43 behind Clement Noel in what could be his last World Cup race.

The 30-year-old Hirscher said Saturday after placing sixth in giant slalom that he could spend next season with his young family “cooking and holding the baby.”

“I’m thinking about this every day,” Hirscher said of possibly retiring, acknowledging he has a “very hard decision” in the next two weeks.

Noel took a clear lead with only the tall Swiss teammates Ramon Zenhaeusern and Daniel Yule within a second of his time on another sun-soaked day in Andorra.

The 2-meter (6-feet-6) Zenhaeusern was 0.84 back, and the 1.87-meter (6-feet-2) Yule had 0.95 to make up in the afternoon second run.

Yule has pledged half his prize money Sunday to a non-profit agency campaigning against climate change, and was on track to earn 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000) for third place.

Stefan Luitz gets WC win thanks to appeal of DQ

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Court of Arbitration for Sport has given German skier Stefan Luitz his first World Cup win and 45,000 Swiss francs ($45,000) in prize money.

CAS upheld Luitz’s appeal against disqualification from a World Cup giant slalom in December in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Racing at an altitude of 10,340 feet (3,152 meters), Luitz inhaled from an oxygen tank before winning. The International Ski Federation disqualified him because its rules prohibit using supplemental oxygen even though the World Anti-Doping Agency does not.

CAS sided with Luitz because the FIS rules also state WADA regulations prevail where there is a conflict.

Feuz, Schmidhofer secure downhill titles at World Cup Finals

Beat Feuz
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SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — Beat Feuz and Nicole Schmidhofer wrapped up the season-long downhill titles at the World Cup Finals despite neither winning a race on Wednesday.

Feuz, only needing a top-12 result, finished sixth in the men’s race, which was won by Dominik Paris of Italy.

Schmidhofer clinched the title as soon as her only remaining rival, Austrian teammate Ramona Siebenhofer, failed to get the victory she needed. Another Austrian, Mirjam Puchner, won the race.

Feuz finished 0.64 seconds behind Paris in sixth but the Swiss skier, leading the standings by 80 points going into the race, secured the season-long title for the second straight year.

“It’s incredible for me to have two globes now. Dominik is in a super form and I am really proud to have won it,” said Feuz, who led Paris by only 20 points in the final standings.

Feuz won only one race this season, in Beaver Creek in November, but he had top-three results in 11 of the last 13 races. Last week, he became the first skier since Stephan Eberharter of Austria in 2004 to finish on the podium in six straight downhills.

“Dominik won many races this year. He won four, I won just one,” Feuz said. “But the important thing was to be on the podium in six of the eight races this season. Consistency is my advantage.”

Feuz won his first downhill title last year, also in the season-ending race, when he beat challenger Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway.

In Wednesday’s race, Paris beat world champion Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 0.34 seconds, with Otmar Striedinger of Austria 0.41 behind in third.

He became the first Italian skier to win four downhills in one campaign, beating the previous record set by Kristian Ghedina in the 1996-97 season and matched by Christof Innerhofer in 2012-13.

Paris has yet to win a crystal globe, but has a chance to do so in Thursday’ super-G, where he leads the standings.

Leading the women’s standings by 90 points, Schmidhofer only could have lost the title if Siebenhofer had won the final race.

But Siebenhofer lost any hope for a victory when she had to brake after landing a jump in order to make the upcoming gate. She finished more than two seconds off the lead and even failed to score World Cup points.

Schmidhofer finished 11th.

Puchner beat Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany by 0.03 seconds. Corinne Suter of Switzerland was third, 0.08 behind.

It’s the first World Cup title for the Austrian women’s team since Eva-Maria Brem won the giant slalom globe in 2016, and the first downhill title since Renate Goetschl won it in 2007.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Schmidhofer said. “But to be named in one sentence with Goetschl is something really special. She won in 2007 when I won the junior world title.”

Schmidhofer is also in contention for the super-G title, where Mikaela Shiffrin leads the standings.

The women’s downhill was interrupted for 15 minutes after Connie Huetter crashed and landed in the safety netting. The Austrian was transported off the hill with an apparent knee injury. Huetter was out with injuries twice before this season and missed last month’s world championships after tearing an ACL in her right knee in January.

The men’s and women’s super-G races are scheduled for Thursday.