Slovak skater Vlhova leads Shiffrin in the first round of the slalom
fibrous Petra Velhova beat Michaela Shivrin again in the first round of the Women’s World Cup slalom race on Sunday, a day after the Slovakian skater won both rounds in the season-opening slalom.
Vlhova was 18 seconds faster than Shiffrin on a course set by one of the American coaches, Jeff Lackie.
Shiffrin is aiming for her 71st career win and 46th place in the slalom, which would see her face a 32-year record for most World Cup wins in a single race, set by Swede great Ingmar Stenmark in the Giant Slalom.
Switzerland’s Michel Gesine and Sweden’s Anna Swain Larsson trailed with .36 and .37 respectively, while the rest of the field had to make up at least half a second on Velhova in the final round. Germany’s Lina Dorr, who finished third on Saturday, was sixth with 0.66.
Curvy World Cup and World Champion Katharina Linsberger of Austria returned 0.94 in 10th place.
Just 0.01 in front of the second checkpoint, Vlhova gained more time on the Shiffrin with a smooth transition from flat to steep midsection.
“On the flat part, I felt like I wasn’t feeling well because today it’s stiffer and the snow surface is more aggressive, so I used all the gas on the steep part,” Velhova said.
The World Cup overall champions from Slovakia beat Shivrin by 0.11 points on Saturday.
“It’s a new day, a new race, so I try to stay focused on today, not thinking about yesterday,” said Flova.
Vlhova and Shiffrin have both won the race in Finland Lapland four times, and no other skater has won it since Tina Maze in 2014.
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