Mikaela Shiffrin dominates World Cup giant slalom in Italy for 10th win of season
SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, Italy — Mikaela Shiffrin took advantage of a massive first-run lead to win a World Cup giant slalom on Tuesday and earn her 10th victory of the season.
Having established a 1.39-second advantage in the opening leg on the steep Erta slope, Shiffrin finished a comfortable 1.21 seconds ahead of Tessa Worley of France.
In perfect conditions, Marta Bassino of Italy moved up from fourth after the first run to finish third, 1.57 back.
Shiffrin was determined to win at Kronplatz after failing to reach the podium in her first two races there.
Shiffrin was fifth in San Vigilio in 2017 and had an uncharacteristic fall in the first run last year.
“When I came here I was thinking, ‘Well the last years didn’t go so well for me.’ I always struggled with this hill,” Shiffrin said. “But I was still excited to ski on it and to prove myself that I can ski it fast and make it to the finish.”
The overall World Cup leader and Olympic champion in giant slalom, Shiffrin is within striking distance of the all-time record of 14 wins in a single season set by Swiss great Vreni Schneider in 1988-89. Lindsey Vonn is second on the list with 12 wins in 2011-12.
It was the 53rd win of Shiffrin’s career.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) January 15, 2019
While Shiffrin often does not celebrate her victories, she raised her arms emphatically to rejoice over this one.
“The first run was maybe my best run in GS in a race that I ever did. But I even felt like, ‘OK, I can be more precise and there’s some things I can do better.’ So it was a good mindset to go in the second run. I wasn’t trying to protect the win, I was trying to ski another run like I did in the first and maybe in some terms better. Both runs the whole day it was really perfect.”
Perhaps with her past Kronplatz results in mind, Shiffrin spent the Christmas holiday in San Vigilio and did some free skiing on the Erta.
“We did one or two runs free skiing with the public, so it was sort of stopping every turn to let people go,” Shiffrin said. “Anyhow it was good just to remember a little bit what the terrain looks like.”
Shiffrin claimed the lead in the GS standings, moving 10 points ahead of Worley and 45 points ahead of previous leader Federica Brignone of Italy, who finished sixth.
It was Worley’s third straight podium result following third-place finishes in GS races in Courchevel, France, and Semmering, Austria — having won the season-opening GS in Soelden, Austria, in October.
“I’m battling with the first places in every race,” Worley said. “We are a lot of girls able to get on the podium.”
Bassino matched her third-place result on this course from two years ago, having finished fourth last year, and ended a podium drought in GS dating to the 2016-17 season.
“To finally do it here in Italy with this crowd is an amazing feeling,” Bassino said.
Petra Vlhova of Slovakia finished fourth and Viktoria Rebensburg, the German who won this race last year, came in fifth.
In the overall standings, Shiffrin extended her lead over Vlhova to a whopping 496 points as she seeks a third straight title.
Nina O’Brien, Shiffrin’s teammate and a university student, finished 26th for her first career points in GS.
Up next on the women’s circuit are two downhills and a super-G in nearby Cortina d’Ampezzo from Friday to Sunday.
Shiffrin plans to skip the Cortina downhills but will race the super-G, while Lindsey Vonn will open her injury-delayed season in Cortina.
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