Shiffrin’s 78th GS win in 2022

Semmering – Women’s World Cup overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin maintained a huge opening advantage in Tuesday’s giant slalom, giving the U.S. her first victory in the event in more than a year.

Shiffrin led Petra Vlhová by 0.72 seconds in the first round, and when her Slovakian opponent set the fastest time in the final round, Shiffrin lost almost six-tenths of the advantage, but eventually won by 0.13 seconds.

The result marked Shifflin’s fourth World Cup win this season and her 78th overall, four shy of the women’s World Cup record set by her former teammate Lindsey Vonn.

Marta Bassino, who won the last GS and maintains the discipline standings lead, is 0.31 behind third. Olympic GS champion Sara Hector of Sweden is 1.52 behind in eighth.

It was the 15th GS victory for 2018 Olympic champion Shiffrin, but the first since December 2021 in Courchevel, France. She has only one podium finish in her first seven giant slalom starts in 2022.

“It’s very special,” Shiffrin said of ending the drought. “GS is one of the toughest races for me and, when I ski well, it’s great.”

The race, which replaces the canceled season-opening Giant Slalom race in the other Austrian resort of Sölden in October, is the first race in a three-day series followed by another GS race on Wednesday and a third. Two-day night slalom race.

“It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking to start (a tournament) with three games. You want to be in the right shape and you can bring intensity to the start,” Shiffrin said.

The American won all three events when Semmering hosted three consecutive days in December 2016, and she was on the verge of claiming the first of four World Cup titles.

Italian speed specialist Sofia Goggia, who is second to Shiffrin in the overall standings, did not take part in the Semmering race, allowing the Americans to extend their lead to 205 points.

Shiffrin set up her victory with a near-perfect start.

She got off to a hot start at Semmering, gaining considerable time in the first 15 seconds of the race and setting the fastest split times in all but the final session.

“From the first turn, I felt really good, I was very strong and energetic, so I’m very happy with my skiing,” said Shiffrin, who won two slaloms and an ultra earlier this season. giant slalom.

US ski team coach Magnus Andersson set the gates for the second round of the Panorama course, which is holding steady despite a few days of mild weather in eastern Austria.

“For me, the warmer temperatures have been much better than I expected,” Shiffrin said.

“The second round was a little bit crazy at times, but I really enjoyed playing here. It’s not easy to win these games, taking a big lead after the first round.”

Valérie Grenier was fourth fastest in the opening round, but was disqualified as the Canadian left the starting block too early.

Shiffrin’s American teammate Paula Moltzan finished a career-best eighth in the GS race in Italy and was tenth two weeks later.

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