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Shiffrin takes huge lead in 1st run of World Cup slalom

December 28, 2017
Associated Press

LIENZ, Austria (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin built a huge lead of more than a second in the opening run of a women's World Cup slalom on Thursday.

On a course set by one of her coaches, Jeff Lackey, the Olympic and overall World Cup champion from the United States finished in 51.03 seconds, leaving second-place Frida Hansdotter of Sweden with 1.14 to make up in the second run.

Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was 1.28 behind in third, while Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was another 0.30 behind in fourth.

"I was really loose. And I didn't have any mistakes or anything, so for sure I really had a fast run," said Shiffrin, who holds the record for the biggest winning margin in a women's World Cup slalom since beating the field by 3.07 seconds in Aspen, Colorado, two years ago.

Shiffrin didn't think that her coach placing the gates was a big advantage for her.

"When my coaches set a course, I say, 'Don't tell me, I don't want to know your set, I don't want to know what you are doing'," Shiffrin said. "Actually, this course was really straight in the fall line and pretty high speed and that's normally not my advantage."

Shiffrin has won 17 of the last 22 slaloms she competed in, but was beaten by Vlhova in the season-opening slalom in Levi, Finland, last month.

On Thursday, she quickly found her rhythm and led most competitors by at least half a second at the first split time.

"With these conditions, the snow is so wet, it's actually really good, but it is very aggressive, it can be difficult to find the timing. But I felt really comfortable," Shiffrin said.

Initially a GS was planned but organizers swapped that race with Friday's slalom because of weather conditions as overnight snowfall forced course workers to move fresh snow out of the race line.



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