American Mikaela Shiffrin takes 1st-run lead at WCup slalom

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LEVI, Finland (AP) — Overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States was fastest in the first run of a slalom on Sunday, a day after she claimed the season-opening slalom race.

Shiffrin gained time on the rest of the field in the bottom section of the course in Finnish Lapland to clock 56.86 seconds and take a 0.07 second lead over Lena Dürr. The German was leading after the first run on Saturday before finishing fourth.

Shiffrin was seeking her 49th slalom victory and the 76th overall in the World Cup.

Her rival, last season’s World Cup slalom and Olympic champion Petra Vlhová of Slovakia had 0.1 of a second to make up in the second run in third after taking third place in Saturday’s race.

Shiffrin and Vlhová dominated the field in this Finnish resort in recent years.

No skier other than Shiffrin and Vlhová has won the traditional season-opening slalom since then-overall champion Tina Maze triumphed in 2014.

Both Shiffrin and Vlhová have won five times here.

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was 0.21 of a second behind the leader in fourth with Norwegian Thea Louise Stjernesund another fourteenth hundredths of a second back in fifth.

Another American skier, Paula Moltzan, placed 12th, 0.95 of a second behind Shiffrin with her compatriots Ava Sunshine and Katie Hensien also qualifying for the second round in 23rd and 29th, respectively.

A total of 22 skiers didn’t finish the opening run, including Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden who took second on Saturday and Americans Zoe Zimmermann and Nina O’Brien.

The two slalom events in Levi opened the women’s World Cup season after all four previously scheduled races had to be cancelled due to warm weather.

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