Shiffrin wins Gi­ant Slalom at World Cup

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports - By ERIC WILLEMSEN

Mikaela Shiffrin wrapped up an event­ful re­turn from her 11-day break from World Cup rac­ing on Satur­day, dom­i­nat­ing a gi­ant slalom for her 63rd ca­reer vic­tory and mov­ing into out­right sec­ond place on the women’s win­ners list. After nearly ar­riv­ing too late for the open­ing run, Shiffrin posted the fastest time in both legs to win by a big mar­gin of 1.36 sec­onds.

LIENZ, Aus­tria — Mikaela Shiffrin wrapped up an event­ful re­turn from her 11-day break from World Cup rac­ing on Satur­day, dom­i­nat­ing a gi­ant slalom for her 63rd ca­reer vic­tory and mov­ing into out­right sec­ond place on the women’s win­ners list.

After nearly ar­riv­ing too late for the open­ing run, Shiffrin posted the fastest time in both legs to win by a big mar­gin of 1.36 sec­onds.

Hav­ing mis­read the lo­cal start time of 10:15 a.m., the Amer­i­can three-time over­all cham­pion was pre­par­ing for a 10:30 start.

Shiffrin had to in­ter­rupt her usual warmup rou­tines to make it to the start gate in time but made no mis­take once on the course.

And she dou­bled her ad­van­tage in the sec­ond run.

After fin­ish­ing, Shiffrin briefly looked up to the large video wall dis­play­ing the times, then crouched down for a few sec­onds, briefly pumped her fist and lay down in the snow.

“It was a big fight to­day. It’s the way I like to ski,” Shiffrin said. “I did the very, very best that I could do. And it was some of the best GS ski­ing I have ever done.”

Marta Bassino of Italy, who won the GS in Killing­ton last month, fin­ished sec­ond, while Aus­tria’s Katharina Liens­berger fin­ished 1.82 back in third to match her ca­reer best re­sult.

The vic­tory moved Shiffrin into out­right sec­ond place on the women’s win­ners list. Aus­trian great An­nemarie Moser-Proell won 62 times in the 1970s and 80s.

Lind­sey Vonn holds the women’s record of 82 wins.

Shiffrin opted out of the Val d’Is­ere races last week­end after fin­ish­ing a dis­ap­point­ing 17th in a mid-week GS in an­other French re­sort, Courchevel.

The events in Val d’Is­ere were then can­celed be­cause of bad weather.

“It sounds pretty stupid to say I lost a lot of con­fi­dence after the last year,” said Shiffrin, re­fer­ring to her record-break­ing sea­son with 17 World Cup wins.

“I was so mad at my­self for mak­ing some of the de­ci­sions about the sched­ule that I did,” said Shiffrin, adding she put her­self “in a po­si­tion in Courchevel where I was not even able to per­form in the right way.”

Shiffrin trained a few days in Courchevel, took three days off, and had a four-day train­ing camp in Italy to get ready for the fi­nal races of the cal­en­dar year.

“I had a lot of doubts. The train­ing I had the last week was re­ally good so I trust in that,” she said. “I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing to win to­day. I was just try­ing to do bet­ter than what I did in the last GS.”

Shiffrin’s prepa­ra­tions paid off, as she had an at­tack­ing but near-flaw­less first run, carv­ing out a com­mand­ing lead over Ital­ian rivals Bassino and Fed­er­ica Brignone by 0.61 and 0.74 sec­onds, re­spec­tively.

Shiffrin came wide on a sharp left turn which caused many rac­ers prob­lems, but she got back to the ideal race line with­out brak­ing.

In the fi­nal run, she ini­tially had her lead over Bassino re­duced to one-third of a sec­ond but ac­cel­er­ated in the sec­ond part to add a full sec­ond to her lead.

A slalom at the same course is sched­uled for Sun­day. Eight years ago, this was the race where then 16-year-old Shiffrin earned her first World Cup podium.

As­so­ci­ated Press

COM­POSED The United States’ Mikaela Shiffrin com­petes in an alpine ski, women’s World Cup gi­ant slalom, in Lienz, Aus­tria, on Satur­day. Shiffrin won the event for her 63rd ca­reer vic­tory de­spite al­most ar­riv­ing too late for her start.

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