Shiffrin beaten in slalom, must wait for his record 86th victory

SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic (AP) — A nod, pouting lips…but then everything smiles.

Mikaela Shiffrin was quick to take the positives after realizing she had to wait at least five more weeks before equaling the World Cup record for most career wins with victory No. 86.

The American skier finished second to Germany’s Lena Dürr in a slalom on Sunday, the last World Cup race before the world championships, and remained one win shy of Ingemar Stenmark’s total on the winners list of all time for both men and women. The Swede competed in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Life has changed me, but I feel my skiing has improved over the past few years,” Shiffrin said. “And I may be a better skier than I’ve ever been in my life. And that’s pretty cool.“

Laurence St-Germain of Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was seventh and Amelia Smart of Invermere, BC, 20th.

Although that didn’t happen on Sunday, Shiffrin returned to winning ways at a pace similar to the 2018-19 season. She scored a record 17 wins that year and has already won 11 from 23 starts in the current season, including three in the past six days.

Shiffrin’s next chance to break Stenmark’s record will be in March when she resumes the World Cup after the February 6-19 world championships in France. World Championship races do not count towards World Cup wins.

“I have no expectations,” Shiffrin said of his next World Cup event, which will be at either the sprint races in Kvitfjell, Norway on March 4-5 or the technical races in Are, in Sweden the following week.

“It’s like every race of the season, I try to take it all in and enjoy it – enjoy my skiing, enjoy when other athletes are skiing better. Because there is always something to learn from that.

Shiffrin broke a tie on the all-time women’s roster with former USA teammate Lindsey Vonn last Tuesday. Vonn had 82 wins when she retired in 2019.

Shiffrin, however, still set a record on Sunday.

His second place finish gave him an insurmountable lead in the slalom standings for the season with two races to spare. His closest challenger, Wendy Holdener, failed to qualify for round two and did not score a World Cup point.

It made Shiffrin the first woman to win seven season slalom titles, overtaking Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider, who won it six times in the 1980s and 1990s.

The women’s record for most titles in any discipline is held by Vonn, who won eight Crystal Globes as the season’s top alpine skier.

Running in the resort near the Czech-Polish border where she made her World Cup debut as a 15-year-old nearly 12 years ago, Shiffrin dominated a slalom on the same course on Saturday, posting times fastest in both runs for his career victory. 85.

On Sunday, Shiffrin held a 0.67-second lead over Dürr in the first run, but posted only the 14th-fastest time in the final run and trailed the German skier by 0.06.

“I felt like I skied really well on the first run, and I actually skied well on the second as well,” said Shiffrin. “And six tenths is actually not that much time. Lena has been strong all season and she deserves to win.

It was Dürr’s second World Cup win, 10 years to the day after winning a Moscow City event.

“It’s crazy that today is the day,” Dürr said. “It took me a while, I just tried to risk it all. I made a little mistake in the flat and just thought, ‘Go all-in.’

It was the German women’s team’s first slalom victory since Maria Höfl-Riesch’s triumph in Levi, Finland, in November 2012.

Zrinka Ljutic was 0.49 behind in third for her first career World Cup podium. The Croatian skier won the junior world title in slalom this month.

Shiffrin’s longtime main rival in slalom, Olympic champion Petra Vlhová of Slovakia, finished fifth after the opening run but made a series of unusual mistakes in the second when she fell to 13th place. , more than two seconds behind Dürr and Shiffrin.

It ended a 17-race slalom streak in which Vlhová had finished no worse than fourth.

Sunday’s slalom was the last women’s World Cup race before the world championships, which open with the women’s combined event in Méribel on Monday February 6.


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