American number one Mikaela Shiffrin claimed her 70th World Cup victory, and first win of the season, at the Alpine Skiing World Cup opening round in Solden, Austria making her the most successful current racer.
The 2018 Olympic Giant Slalom Gold Medallist was the first skier out of the gate, showing incredible form and pulling ahead of the group in her first run on a course which, before today, she had not claimed victory on in seven years.
But the American was not in the lead for long, with Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami demonstrating that her relaxed approach to the season, having taken a long break after the ski season in March, had paid off.
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The Swiss number one demonstrated some beautiful fluid skiing, with strong power in her turns, to pull ahead of Shiffrin by just 0.02 points.
‘Absolutely brilliant’ – Shiffrin nails first run in Solden with ‘textbook’ effort
Shiffrin came back in her second run determined on securing victory, with the three-time overall World Cup champion demonstrating that the amazing form she found in the middle of last season had been transferred into this new one.
The two-time Olympic champion showed clear tactics in her run to open up a 1.3 point advantage at the top of the table, overtaking Petra Vlhova, who finished in third, and putting pressure on Gut-Behrami.
Gut-Behrami entered her second run looking to reclaim her lead, but even before the finish had lost to the American, who claimed a 0.14 victory.
Speaking at the finish area, Shiffrin said: “Starting off this season strong is important, so I’m super happy.
“This race is so tough because it’s early to start, already racing in October, and you’re like, ‘Oh gosh, here we go’.
So sometimes I think people are not pushing so hard, but you have to really attack this hill and I’ve learnt that the hard way and I’ve also learnt it the good way.
“Today was a good one.”
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