Mikaela Shiffrin swept to victory during the giant slalom at Kranjska Gora, her 39th World Cup victory
Kranjska Gora (Slovenia) (AFP) - American Mikaela Shiffrin made a rare error early in her second run but held on to edge key rival Tessa Worley and win the giant slalom World Cup event at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia on Saturday.
With the Winter Olympics just over a month away Shiffrin looked relieved with her narrow lead of 0.31sec over French skier Worley, who will travel to South Korea as defending giant slalom Olympic champion.
Shiffrin had been flawless on the first run of 55.08sec while Worley ran 55.94sec, but she set off slowly for the second descent on packed ice, taking an early gate wide with one leg way off the ground.
But the 22-year-old from Colorado who is set to be a key attraction at the Pyeongchang Games next month showed depth of character to hold her nerve through the remaining gates.
“It was quite nice to ski on, a bit bumpy and wild but okay,” Shiffrin said, who has been nursing a heavy cold.
“I’ve been sick the last few days, but that was no excuse not to race.”
It was her third straight win in 2018, her sixth ever in giant slalom and her 39th World Cup victory.
It extends her huge overall lead in the overall World Cup standings where she is a massive 1,181 points ahead of the midway stage of the season and it lifts her clear in the giant slalom standings with 385 to Worley’s 330 points.
On Sunday the American prodigy will be red-hot favourite to win the slalom, her preferred discipline, at Podkoren in Slovenia.
Sofia Goggia of Italy was third on the day whilst Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, who will be among the favourites for a podium spot at the Olympics, was fourth.
Another potential giant slalom medallist Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, champion at Vancouver and bronze winner at Sochi, had been sixth after the first run but ended a disappointing 11th on the day.