SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, Italy (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin holds a slim lead after the first run of Tuesday’s giant slalom and is in position for a record-breaking 83rd World Cup victory.
Shiffrin currently shares the women’s record of 82 wins with former American teammate Lindsey Vonn.
Shiffrin is 0.13 seconds ahead of world champion Lara Gut-Behrami and 0.27 ahead of home favorite and former overall champion Federica Brignone at the Kronplatz resort in San Vigilio.
Petra Vlhova, Shiffrin’s usual rival, was 1.01 back, with Olympic champion Sara Hector nearly two seconds behind.
The second run starts at 1:30 p.m.
If she does win, Shiffrin will then need only three more victories to match Ingemark Stenmark’s overall mark — between men and women — of 86 victories. Stenmark competed in the 1970s and 80s.
Vonn retired four years ago when injuries cut her career short.
Mike Day, the head coach of Shiffrin’s personal team, set the course for the first run. Mauro Pini, Vlhova’s coach, will set the second run.
Shiffrin appeared to make a tactical decision to hold back slightly on the hardest part of a slope that is named Erta, which translates as “steep,” featuring a 61% gradient. Then she accelerated on the flatter lower section and appeared satisfied upon seeing her result, pumping her first slightly.
“There’s some spots where I was skiing very strong but not always taking on the speed,” Shiffrin said. “But I felt very, very good on the start. So just taking that skiing and being a bit more aggressive on the rest of the course.
“It was also smart after downhill, super-G to just get the timing back a bit,” Shiffrin added. “I just tried to move really quick and (make) good, clean turns.”
This is Shiffrin’s fifth opportunity to break the record after matching Vonn’s mark in Kranjksa Gora, Slovenia, earlier this month. She finished second to Vlhova in a slalom, her best event, in Flachau, Austria, then missed the podium in three straight speed races in nearby Cortina d’Ampezzo last weekend.
Gut-Behrami came down immediately after Shiffrin and took a similar cautious approach on the steeps. The Swiss skier’s last GS win came in November in Killington, Vermont. She claimed the gold medal in the event at the 2021 world championships in Cortina.
The first run was held in flat light with snow falling.
Valerie Grenier, the Canadian who claimed her first World Cup win this month, stood fourth, 0.76 behind, and American skier Paula Moltzan was fifth, 0.84 behind.
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