Petra Vlhova edges past Mikaela Shiffrin in wet World Cup slalom at Courchevel

Slovakian skier Petra Vlhova utilized a frantic final run to narrowly defeat Mikaela Shiffrin and achieve her 30th career victory in challenging conditions at a women’s World Cup slalom event in Courchevel on Thursday.

Racing in rainy weather, Vlhova trailed the American skier by 0.17 seconds after the first run but recorded the fastest time in the second run, securing her the lead.

Shiffrin, being the final participant, consistently lost time to Vlhova at every interval and ultimately fell short by 0.24 seconds.

“I feel fantastic, filled with confidence,” Vlhova expressed. “In previous races, I was always close but something was missing. This victory holds great significance. I am aware of my ability to be fast, and today I demonstrated it.”

The remaining competitors finished more than two seconds behind the leaders. Austrian skiers Katharina Truppe and Katharina Gallhuber claimed third and fourth place respectively, while Shiffrin’s American teammate Paula Moltzan dropped to fifth place, 2.64 seconds behind Vlhova after the first run.

This victory marked Vlhova’s 21st career win in a slalom event, propelling her to fourth place on the all-time winners list. Only Shiffrin (55), Marlies Schild (35), and Vreni Schneider (34) have achieved more slalom victories.

This result marked the 23rd instance in the history of the women’s World Cup where Shiffrin and Vlhova finished in first and second place respectively in a slalom event, with Shiffrin emerging as the victor on 10 occasions.

“It’s outstanding for our sport because I believe we motivate each other. We are continually pushing our skiing abilities to higher levels,” Vlhova acknowledged.

Earlier on Thursday, Shiffrin and Vlhova defied the conditions and left their competitors behind by more than a second, setting the stage for another showdown in pursuit of victory.

“Yes, it’s challenging. The significant gap is due to limited areas to push on,” Shiffrin commented regarding the deteriorated surface of the Stade E. Allais course.

Shiffrin, bouncing back from an unusual did-not-finish (DNF) result in Sunday’s super-G event in Val d’Isere, took the lead in the race and managed to avoid major errors on a demanding course designed by Vlhova’s coach, Mauro Pini.

The Slovakian skier, who started second, outpaced Shiffrin in three of the four sections but made a costly mistake in the second section, losing 0.47 seconds to the American.

“I felt very comfortable with my skiing, but starting first was a significant advantage. It’s quite challenging conditions,” Shiffrin stated.

Vlhova secured her first slalom victory of the season, while Shiffrin triumphed in the following two races, including the event in Killington, Vermont, in November.

Last January, Lena Duerr became the most recent skier other than Shiffrin or Vlhova to win a World Cup slalom event. On Thursday, the German athlete had the third-fastest time at the initial checkpoint in the first run but unfortunately missed a gate.

Shiffrin extended her lead in the overall standings, now holding a 143-point advantage over Federica Brignone. The Italian skier, who claimed victory in Sunday’s super-G, seldom competes in slalom events and chose to sit out Thursday’s race.

The upcoming World Cup races will be a Giant Slalom (GS) and slalom event in Lienz, Austria, taking place next Thursday and Friday.

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