Velhova beats Shiffrin in first slalom of the World Cup season

Velhova beats Shiffrin in first slalom of the World Cup season

fibrous Petra Velhova maintained her first-round lead to beat Michaela Schiffrin to win her first World Cup slalom race of the season on Saturday.

The Slovak overall champion initially lost a few hundred of her slim lead of 0.11 but accelerated towards the end of her final run to win the .31 as the duo continued their dominance at the annual event in Finnish Lapland.

None of the skaters other than Flova or Shiffrin have won the season’s inaugural traditional slalom since then-all-around champion Tina Mazi triumphed in 2014. Both Shiffrin and Velhova have won the title four times.

“Here on this kind of slope I love to ski, it’s something special for me,” said Flova, who won two weekly slalom races here last year.

Having dealt with a back problem that has hampered her training for the past few weeks, Shiffrin has had to wait in her attempt to match the 32-year-old’s record for most World Cup wins in a single system. Currently, in 45 slalom wins, the American is far behind Swede’s top mark Ingmar Stenmark in giant slalom.

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Lena finished third with 0.84 points as the German skater’s second podium finish, nearly nine years after winning a city event in Moscow.

Andrea Slocar of Slovenia, who won the parallel event last week, came in fourth with 1.12, followed by Anna Swain Larsson, who finished in a hundredth fifth of a second. The Swede is back from a knee injury to compete in her first World Cup race in 21 months.

Austrian Katharina Linsberger came sixth, 1.28 behind. Linsberger outplayed Shivrin and Velhova to win the slalom World Cup title last season, just weeks after winning the World title in Discipline.

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