Mikaela Shiffrin misses slalom podium as World Cup overall race tightens | VailDaily.com

Mikaela Shiffrin misses slalom podium as World Cup overall race tightens

Shiffrin will take a 56-point lead over rival Petra Vlhová into the finals

Mikaela Shiffrin rips past a slalom pole during Saturday’s World Cup slalom race in Are, Sweden.
Pontus Lundahl/AP

After a dramatic second run which saw more than a few surprising lead changes, a name other than Shiffrin and Vlhova wound up in the top spot in a slalom World Cup for the first time this season.

Austrian Katharina Liensberger went from fifth to first to win while Norwegian Mina Fuerst Holtmann jumped all the way from 10th to second to claim a surprising second career podium. Michelle Gisin went from sixth to third to round out the podium.

“I’m feeling so happy because I really did it and it wasn’t easy today,” Liensberger told FIS reporters afterwards.

“It’s really special; it’s a great atmosphere and I really like it here.”

It was a star-studded bunch at the top after the first run. 30-year-old Lena Durr was in poll position to claim the first German slalom victory since 2012, leading Olympic slalom gold medalist Vlhova by 0.08 seconds. Vlhova mathematically wrapped up the 2022 slalom globe but was looking to become the second woman in the last 10 seasons to accrue at least six wins in the event in a season. The other woman is of course Shiffrin, who accomplished the feat in 2017 (6), 2018 (7) and 2019 (8). She sat in fourth, 0.25 seconds back. Meanwhile, the 2021 slalom globe winner and Beijing silver medalist, Liensberger, lurked in fifth, just a tenth of a second behind the Edwards resident.

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Like many of the late-starters, Shiffrin lost valuable time in the early time checks atop the deteriorating Olympic slope snow, a venue where she won the 2019 World Championship in the event. She lost her lead at the first interval by 0.01 seconds. That margin ballooned to 0.49 at the next, and things continued in the wrong direction the rest of the way. In the end, she finished in ninth, opening the door for Vlhova to close the overall standings gap, which stood at 77 at the start.

In the end, the Slovakian superstar couldn’t capitalize. She slowed in the final interval as well, slid to fourth place, and only made up 18 points on her American rival. Heading into the World Cup finals in France, the two are separated by just 59 points.

“I felt okay with some of my skiing but never really found good timing,” Shiffrin told U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Mackenzie Moran.

“In the end I liked the feeling of my first run better than my second. But my skiing is feeling good and even in my warm-ups today, it’s feeling pretty on point, but its just a matter of doing it the right way in the races and today it wasn’t quite there, that’s for sure.”

Shiffrin added that fatigue from the long season is starting to take a toll.

“The [giant slalom] last night took the most energy I had out of any race this season. It was a short time to recover for today’s race,” she told Moran. “But I think it’s pretty typical once the season goes on that towards the end you start to feel it a little bit.”

Petra Vlhova in the finish area after the second run of the World Cup slalom event in Are, Sweden on Saturday.
Pontus Lundahl/AP
FIS Alpine Ski Women’s World Cup overall standings

1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA – 1245

2. Petra Vlhova, SVK – 1189

3. Federica Brignone, ITA – 931

4. Sofia Goggia, ITA – 851

5. Sara Hector, SWE – 742

Getting booted from the podium meant that Shiffrin will remained tied with Lindsey Vonn for the most women’s World Cup podiums in a single discipline. She has 66 in slalom while the former speed specialist won the same number in the downhill. Speaking of Vonn, Shiffrin could tie the American icon for the most overall titles (four) if she can hold onto her lead through next week.

The World Cup finals is in Courchevel/Méribel, France Mar. 14-20 and will contest every event.

Radamus places 16th in Kranjska Gora giant slalom

River Radamus finished in 16th place in the Kranjska Gora, Slovenia World Cup giant slalom, a result which moved him from ninth to 11th in the discipline’s season standings. Henrik Kristoffersen won, while his Norwegian teammate Lucas Braathen tied giant slalom leader Marco Odermatt for second. Loic Meillard of Switzerland rounded out the podium.

“Well, I skied too safe, but at least I also made a bunch of mistakes!” Radamus posted on social media after the race. “Hungry for more tomorrow.”

River Radamus competes in the World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia on Saturday.
Luca Tedeschi/AP photo

Heading into the World Cup finals, Radamus still has a good chance to move up in the standings considerably. He is just 37 points behind seventh ranked Lucas Braathen and trails Alexis Pinturault by 97 points. Athletes earn 100 points for World Cup victories, 80 for second place finishes, and 60 for third. Last year, the Edwards resident finished 28th in the discipline standings.

Owens fourth, Johnson eighth in return to World Cup mogul action

Kai Owens and Tess Johnson returned to World Cup action for the dual moguls event in Chiesa in Valmalenco (Italy) on Saturday, the first on the circuit since the Deer Valley competition Jan. 14. It was after that final Olympic tryout event Johnson discovered she would not be headed to a second Games, while Owens learned of her chance to return to her birth country as a representative of the deep U.S. women’s mogul squad in Beijing.

Incidentally, the SSCV teammates squared off in Saturday’s quarter final in Italy, where Owens won decisively. She then fell to the Beijing gold medalist, Australia’s Jakara Anthony, who ended up winning the event. Owens lost to fellow American Jaelin Kauf in the small final to finish in fourth, while Johnson ended her day eighth.

Owens is third in the World Cup dual moguls standings with 150 points. Megeve, France will host the season’s final event March 19. Anthony’s 260 leads the standings, with Perrine Laffont in second with 196. Anthony also leads the overall cup standings, where Johnson and Owens are fifth and sixth, respectively.

Kai Owens competes in the women's moguls qualifying at the 2022 Winter Olympics Feb. 6
Gregory Bull/AP photo

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