Flachau, Austria (AFP) – Slovakian Petra Vlhova beat Mikaela Shiffrin for the second straight World Cup slalom race to seal victory at Flachau on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old posted a combined time of one minute and 53.65 seconds to edge out Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson by only 0.10sec, with American star Shiffrin only third, another 0.33secs slower, after an error-strewn second run in Austria.
Vlhova claimed her seventh World Cup slalom win and 12th on the circuit in total to move second in the overall standings behind defending champion Shiffrin.
“It was a really important win for me. I feel great, I feel really confident in my skiing,” she said. “I tried to be focused and think about how I could be faster.”
Vlhova and Shiffrin, who remains without a win in 2020, had finished as the top two in each of the previous three slaloms this season.
But Swenn-Larsson produced the quickest second effort of 59.66sec to claim her third World Cup podium of the campaign.
Home hope Katharina Liensberger had to settle for fifth after sitting third following the opening run, with Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finishing fourth in the event for the fourth time.
Shiffrin, bidding for a fourth straight big crystal globe, leads Vlhova in the overall World Cup standings by 273 points and the slalom standings by 80 points.
It is the first time in over five years that Shiffrin has failed to win in successive slalom races, although she has now finished on the podium seven times in Flachau.
The 24-year-old two-time Olympic champion trailed Vlhova by 0.60secs heading into the second run under the floodlights, but made two clear errors to miss out on a 65th World Cup triumph.
Swenn-Larsson would have been dreaming of becoming the first woman other than Vlhova and Shiffrin to win a slalom in 25 races after seeing the latter fail to beat her time.
But Vlhova recovered after an early mistake to hang on for her third victory of the season.