Bassino wins 3rd World Cup GS; Shiffrin sixth in Slovenia |

Bassino wins 3rd World Cup GS; Shiffrin sixth in Slovenia

Another giant slalom set for Sunday

Mikaela Shiffrin slides into the finish of Saturday’s World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday. Shiffrin finished sixth and will compete in Sunday’s slalom there. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Italy’s Marta Bassino won her third World Cup giant slalom on Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in her fourth outing of the season to take a 50-point lead in the season standings.

Bassino finished in 2 minutes, 12.70 seconds, followed by France’s Tessa Worley (0.80 seconds behind) and Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin (1.46). Mikaela Shiffrin was sixth, a full 2.18 seconds off the lead.

“It’s just amazing,” Bassino said on Peacock after the win. “Today was really tough. I just tried to push and go down as fast as I could because the feeling was not so nice. I’m very happy.”

Simply put for Shiffrin, it was not her day. She finished the first run in fourth place, leaving her 0.54 seconds behind Bassino with Gisin in second and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova in third.

Only Bassino mastered the second run, which tossed around most, including Shiffrin, who lost her shot during the second interval.

With Maribor, the traditional site of the Golden Fox races, unavailable because of a lack of snow, the women’s races moved to Kranjska Gora. Not only is Kranjska Gora two hours east of Maribor, but its course is 2,000 feet higher and a lot steeper than the original piste.

Shiffrin entered Saturday’s race with some momentum after a riveting victory in Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday.

American Nina O’Brien finished in 13th. According to the Associated Press, fellow American Paula Moltzan tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and was ruled out for both races this weekend.

The U.S. ski team said “ongoing testing” of its skiers and staff “resulted in no other positive cases.”

What does it mean?

Truthfully, Shiffrin likely hoped to build on Tuesday’s victory with an eye on the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, which start in Cortina on Feb. 8 with the the women’s combined. Shiffrin did not enter the combined the last time worlds were held in Are, Sweden, in 2019 during the biennial event.

Were Shiffrin to compete in the first week, when the speed events happen at worlds, it would more likely be in Feb. 9’s super-G, where she is the defending champion from 2019. Because last season ended between Shiffrin’s father passing in early February combined with the onset of COVID, she hasn’t been on speed skis in competition since she won a super-G in Bansko, Bulgaria, on Jan. 26, 2020.

Shiffrin has dropped hints that she might brush up her super-G with an eye toward Cortina, but also understandably has not committed to that race.

All eyes remain on the worlds GS on Feb. 18 and the slalom on Feb. 20. The giant slalom is really the only major medal missing in Shiffrin’s collection. She already has gold in the Olympics in both GS (2018) and slalom (2014). Shiffrin has four straight wins at world champs in slalom (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019).

News and notes

  • Officially, this was Shiffrin’s “worst” finish this season. In her seven previous starts this season, she had finished no lower than fifth in the second slalom in Levi, Finland, back in November.
  • Bassino retained the GS lead with her third win of the year. The Italian leads the points with 300, followed by teammate Federica Brignone (250), Gisin (192), Worley (191) and Shiffrin (190). There are four giant slaloms left in the season, including one more on Sunday and a stop in Kronplatz, Italy, on Jan. 26 before worlds.
  • Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova took fourth to maintain her World Cup lead with 749 points ahead of Gisin (635) and Shiffrin (525).

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