Vlhova wins 2nd straight World Cup slalom, Shiffrin 3rd

Sports

FLACHAU, Austria (AP) — Petra Vlhova won a women’s World Cup night slalom on Tuesday, handing Mikaela Shiffrin a rare second straight defeat in the American’s strongest discipline.

After building a lead of six tenths of a second from the opening run, the Slovakian skier won the race by 0.10 seconds over Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden.

Shiffrin, who was second after the opening run, came 0.43 behind in third for her worst result in slalom in two years, when she failed to finish in the final race before the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Vlhova beat Shiffrin by a margin of 1.31 seconds in Zagreb 10 days ago, which ended the American’s winning streak in slaloms after nearly a year.

The previous time that Shiffrin lost back-to-back slaloms in a single season was more than five years ago.

In three races in November and December 2014, she placed 11th, fifth and fourth, respectively, and parted ways with long-term coach Roland Pfeifer shortly afterward.

All 25 World Cup slaloms since January 2017, when Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter triumphed here, have been won by either Shiffrin — with 19 — or Vlhova.

Shiffrin has a record 43 World Cup wins in the discipline, and has won four straight world championships and Olympic gold in 2014 in skiing’s most technically demanding event.

Runner-up Swenn Larsson matched her career best result. The Swede finished third here last season but was disqualified shortly after the race as she had straddled a gate.

The floodlit race in Austria with 14,800 spectators had the highest prize fund on the women’s World Cup this season, with Vlhova receiving 70,000 euros ($77,900) for the win.

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