Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service
American starts defence of FIS World Cup slalom crown with second behind Slovak.
Petra Vlhova and Mikaela Shiffrin produced a brilliant duel at the opening FIS World Cup ladies’ slalom race in Levi, Finland to thrill alpine skiing fans.
American Shiffrin, who is seeking a fifth FIS World Cup slalom title and a second overall trophy, was quickest after the first run thanks to a quick 55.66 seconds.
Slovakian Vlhova was 0.21 seconds behind heading into the second run with Swede Frida Hansdotter third and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener back in fourth.
Holdener improved on her second run to leave Vlhova and Shiffrin with a tough time to beat, however the Slovak carved her way down in a superb 54.11 seconds for a combined mark of 1 minute 49.98 seconds.
Shiffrin was on track for another victory, however she could not maintain her pace throughout the whole run and ended up 0.10 seconds behind the winner Vlhova who bagged 100 FIS World Cup points with Shiffrin claiming 80, Holdener 60 and Hansdotter 50.
Vlhova revealed, “I feel great, and I am really happy that I beat Mikaela, because she is really strong and fast.
“I have been training very hard because it is the Winter Games season, but now the goal is the World Cup. End of January, I start to think about PyeongChang.”
However Shiffrin has the overall FIS World Cup lead on 125 points with Vlhova on 115, Holdener 100 and German Viktoria Rebensburg 100 as well after she won the first ladies’ giant slalom of the season in Soelden.
Shiffrin added, “I know Petra, she is really hammering it. She is pushing a lot. I was pretty clean for the most part, so I can be a little bit more precise maybe in a couple of gates. But it felt like a good run. It was really fun to ski.”
The next ladies’ slalom race is on November 26 down the tricky Killington course in the USA.