Shiffrin wins night race for 1st slalom victory in 1 year

FLACHAU, Austria (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin won a night slalom Tuesday to end a year-long victory drought in her strongest discipline and earn her 100th World Cup podium.

Shiffrin, who last triumphed in a slalom in December 2019, held on to her opening-run lead and beat Katharina Liensberger by 0.19 seconds following a near-flawless final run, denying the Austrian her first career win.

Liensberger is the only skier to finish in the top three of all five slaloms so far this season.

“So much energy has been building up, it all, like, went out on that run,” said Shiffrin, who was away from the circuit for much of 2020 because of injuries and the death of her father. “What can I say? That’s cool.”

The result made Shiffrin the eighth skier in the 54-year-long history of the World Cup to reach 100 podium finishes.

On the women’s side, only Lindsey Vonn (137), Annemarie Moser-Proell (114), Renate Goetschl (110) and Vreni Schneider (101) have more top-three finishes than Shiffrin.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking about records today,” the American said. “I just wanted to ski well. This slope kind of tripped me up the last couple of years and I just wanted to ski, like, I don’t know, strong and inspired. It’s really, really fun tonight.”

Wendy Holdener was 0.43 behind in third, extending her record to 25 podiums without winning a race in the slalom discipline.

Overall World Cup leader Petra Vlhova, who won three of the previous four slaloms this season, placed fourth.

Michelle Gisin in fifth was 1.52 off the lead. Two weeks ago, Gisin won in another Austrian resort, Semmering, to become the first skier other the Shiffrin or Vlhova to win a World Cup slalom in 29 races since January 2017.

Shiffrin has finished on the podium here all eight times she competed in the floodlit race since 2013, including four wins.

She has won a record 44 World Cup slaloms and 68 races overall, putting in her outright third place on the all-time winners list, one ahead of Marcel Hirscher.

Only Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Vonn (82) have more wins.

Shiffrin led a strong showing by the U.S. ski team, with Paula Moltzan in ninth earning her first top-10 result in slalom.

A.J. Hurt finished 29th for her career best in the discipline. Hurt had not scored World Cup points before this season but now has top-30 finishes in four different events.

Camille Rast of Switzerland, a late starter with bib No. 57 who had not qualified for a second run before, was 14th after the opening run and finished the race in sixth.

The race was the last slalom before the world championships in Italy in February.

The women’s World Cup continues with two giant slaloms in Kranjska Gora this weekend, after the races were moved for another Slovenian resort, Maribor, because of a lack of snow.

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