Home Sports U.S. star Mikaela Shiffrin wins 79th World Cup race as she edges Lara Gut-Behrami in giant slalom

U.S. star Mikaela Shiffrin wins 79th World Cup race as she edges Lara Gut-Behrami in giant slalom

by staff

SEMMERING, Austria — Mikaela Shiffrin won a gripping duel with Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami in a women’s World Cup giant slalom Wednesday to earn her second win in two days, and career victory No. 79.

Shiffrin trailed leader Gut-Behrami by 0.22 seconds after the opening leg but the pair swapped places after a thrilling final run in which both made mistakes, with the American racer ultimately beating her rival by 0.10.

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“It was hard, it was so dark, some really big bumps, I tried to push,” Shiffrin said.

Marta Bassino, who leads the GS standings, was 0.47 behind in third, followed by Italian teammate Federica Brignone in fourth.

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Shiffrin also won a GS on the same course Tuesday and is now three World Cup wins short of the women’s record held by Lindsey Vonn. She could even get one closer before the end of 2022 as the three-day series at Semmering will be concluded with a night slalom Thursday.

Shiffrin won all three events the previous time the resort near the capital Vienna hosted races on three consecutive days, in December 2016.

Wednesday’s win was Shiffrin’s 16th in GS, putting her in joint second place on the all-time winners list alongside Annemarie Moser-Pröll and Tessa Worley. Only Vreni Schneider won more giant slaloms with 20.

The win also stretched Shiffrin’s lead in the overall standings to 305 points over Sofia Goggia. The Italian speed specialist is not competing in Semmering.

Shiffrin and Gut-Behrami set up their duel by building a big lead over the rest of the field in the opening run, when the Swiss skier looked flawless on the icy Panorama course.

With the gates set in an uncharacteristically straight line, Gut-Behrami and Shiffrin completed the course in less than a minute, about five seconds faster than Tuesday.

Shiffrin led Gut-Behrami’s time throughout her run but could not match the Swiss skier’s pace at the flat bottom section.

“It’s quite a straight course, a really fast course, and it has bumps in it,” Shiffrin said. “It’s kind of hard to ski something with so little turn and I’m really happy that I was able to do it that well.”

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In the second leg with more turns, no racer had a clean run. Starting last as the first-run leader, Gut-Behrami lost her advantage over Shiffrin at the first split time, but she gained time again in sections where her rival struggled.

The fastest second-run time was clocked by Valérie Grenier, who improved from 12th after the opening run to fifth. It meant redemption for the Canadian skier, who posted the fourth-fastest time in the opening run of Tuesday’s race before being disqualified for having started too early.

Shiffrin’s American teammate Paula Moltzan finished ninth to claim her third top-10 result in GS this season.

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