SHIFFRIN TAKES SEC­OND WCUP GS WIN IN TWO DAYS

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Af­ter wait­ing 26 months for her sec­ond ca­reer World Cup gi­ant slalom win, Mikaela Shiffrin needed just one more day to add the third.

Yes­ter­day, the Amer­i­can earned her sec­ond GS win in two days. Her only pre­vi­ous vic­tory in the dis­ci­pline was in Oc­to­ber 2014 - at the sea­son-open­ing race in another Aus­trian re­sort, Soelden.

The vic­tory raised her to­tal of World Cup wins to 25, with 22 com­ing in her fa­vorite slalom dis­ci­pline. Among ac­tive skiers, only Amer­i­can team­mate Lind­sey Vonn, who is cur­rently re­cov­er­ing from a bro­ken arm, has won more races - 76.

In dense snow­fall, Shiffrin built on a nar­row first-run lead to beat 2013 world cham­pion Tessa Wor­ley of France by 0.15 sec­onds, while 2010 Olympic cham­pion Vik­to­ria Rebens­burg of Ger­many was 0.18 back in third for her first podium fin­ish of the sea­son.

“It was a re­ally big fight,” Shiffrin said. “It was tough be­cause you could feel your skis like stop­ping and go­ing, stop­ping and go­ing. And I thought, ‘This is slow, it has to be.’”

Shiffrin and Wor­ley also fin­ished 1-2 in Tues­day’s GS on the same course. Wor­ley won the pre­vi­ous two GS races in Killing­ton, Ver­mont, and Sestriere, Italy, and now leads Shiffrin by 35 points in the dis­ci­pline stand­ings.

Shiffrin ex­tended her lead in the over­all World Cup stand­ings to 115 points over de­fend­ing cham­pion Lara Gut of Switzer­land, who fin­ished sixth in yes­ter­day’s race.

The three-day event in Aus­tria ends with a flood­lit slalom race on Thurs­day, giv­ing Shiffrin an op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther strengthen her lead. The Olympic cham­pion has won all 11 slaloms she com­peted in since Fe­bru­ary 2015, while Gut usu­ally sits out slaloms.

The open­ing run in the morn­ing hours was ham­pered by strong winds and snow­fall, but con­di­tions even got worse in the af­ter­noon.

“It was so tough. I didn’t think I was go­ing to see the green light at the end,” said Wor­ley, who briefly led the com­pe­ti­tion be­fore Shiffrin had her fi­nal run. “It was so bumpy and you couldn’t see any­thing.”

Wor­ley’s French team­mate Taina Bar­ioz had a nasty crash and ap­peared to have hurt her left lower leg, but Shiffrin said con­di­tions were still suit­able for a GS race.

“Out­side the track it might have been pretty dan­ger­ous be­cause there is so much snow but in the track it is OK,” Shiffrin said. Rebens­burg, who in­jured her knee in the off-sea­son, dropped from sec­ond af­ter the first run to third but said she was still sat­is­fied with get­ting her first top-three fin­ish since win­ning the sea­son-end­ing

GS in St. Moritz, Switzer­land, in March. “Ba­si­cally I am very happy to be on the podium but I am also a bit an­gry with my­self as I didn’t ski the fi­nal part too well,” the Ger­man said. “It was bru­tally dif­fi­cult and I held back a bit.”

Just like at the race the day be­fore, Shiffrin took a slim lead in the open­ing run. “It was fun again,” said Shiffrin, who wore bib No. 6 af­ter Tues­day’s win had earned her a place among the seven high­est-ranked GS skiers, who get the fa­vor­able start num­bers one to seven.

“It was a good day to get into the top seven. I had a nice track so it wasn’t too bad. Ac­tu­ally they did a re­ally good job clean­ing up the track,” said Shiffrin, re­fer­ring to a le­gion of course work­ers who moved fresh snow off the race line in the hours be­fore the start, and again be­fore the fi­nal run

SEMMERING: United States’s Mikaela Shiffrin, cen­ter, win­ner of an alpine ski, women’s World Cup Gi­ant Slalom, cel­e­brates on the podium with sec­ond-placed France’s Tessa Wor­ley, left, and third-placed Ger­many’s Vik­to­ria Rebens­burg, in Semmering, Aus­tria, yes­ter­day.

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