Petra Vlhova leads Mikaela Shiffrin in 1st run of slalom at Killington
Shiffrin trails by .2 heading into second run
KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Petra Vlhova built a slim lead over Mikaela Shiffrin in the opening run of the slalom on Sunday in the first women’s World Cup race in North America for two years.
The Slovakian overall champion finished .20 seconds ahead of Shiffrin, who was passionately cheered on by a home crowd as the American chases a record while also trying to protect her unbeaten streak at Killington.
Shiffrin made up .29 on the last part of the course. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was the only other skier within a second of Vlhova at .58 slower.
Shiffrin has won all four previous World Cup slalom races in Killington. Last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic.
While the 26-year-old Shiffrin hails from Vail, Colorado, she can almost consider Killington a hometown race as she honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.
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The two-time Olympic champion has won 45 World Cup slaloms, leaving her one short of the record for most wins in a single discipline, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark with 46 giant slalom victories in the 1970s and ’80s.
Shiffrin won the season-opening giant slalom in Sölden, Austria, but finished second to Vlhova — her biggest rival — in both slalom races in Levi, Finland, last week.
Shiffrin and Vlhova share the lead in the overall World Cup standings on 260 points.
A giant slalom was scheduled for Saturday but was canceled shortly after the start due to strong wind.