Mikaela Shiffrin wins 70th World Cup ski opener

Schifflin became the third skier in World Cup history and achieved 70 wins.

Mikaela Shiffrin excels in the World Cup Giant Slalom, which kicks off Saturday’s season, winning her 70th career win by skiing almost perfect twice on one of the toughest hills on the women’s circuit.

The performance of the American Olympic champion was overkill even for Swiss GS World Champion Lara Gut-Behrami.

Schifflin sat .02 behind Gutberami after the opening leg, but made a second clean run to overtake his Swiss rivals at .14 in perfect sunny conditions on the Rettenbach glacier. ..

“I’m very happy because it’s important to start the season powerfully,” said Schifflin. “I’m looking forward to skiing today. They were very good at this (course) preparation. It was very good to ski this hill.”

The pair finished much faster than the rest of the field, with Slovak general champion Petra Vlhovra in third place 1.30 seconds behind.

Schifflin became the third skier in World Cup history to achieve 70 wins after Ingemar Stenmark and Lindsey Vonn achieved great achievements before finishing their careers with 86 and 82 wins, respectively.

“I think so now,” Schifflin said when asked if the number 70 meant something special to her. “It’s a great achievement. I’m proud. The 70 is great, but today’s goal was to ski well.”

And Schifflin did just that on Saturday.

She started the race with a clean run and shrugged a bit after the finish, but her time easily held up when other pre-race favorites fell.

Only Gut Behrami, who ran aggressively in perfect sunny conditions on the Rettenbach glacier, led Schifflin’s time to hundreds of times through her run.

Gut-Behrami had a quick start and was .09 ahead on the first split, but lost some of his lead to Schifflin at each of the following checkpoints.

“It was a really very clean run. I was really happy with the skis,” Schifflin said after the first run. “Looking at Lara, she’s also very precise and may be a little more active, like a little extra.”

The battle for victory had an interesting turn in Round 2.

Swiss skiers noticed themselves down .10 at the first checkpoint after Schifflin posted the fastest second lantern ever to put pressure on Gutbarami, but Schifflin was steep. Entering the central section, he gained time and regained the lead with an advantage of .24.

But she didn’t match the lower sifrin.

Schifflin’s 13th GS victory was seven years after winning the first race at the same venue, sharing his 2014 victory with Austrian Anafeninger.

Some of Schifflin’s main challengers got off to a rough start in their season.

Most notably, both Italian GS specialists Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone skated.

Bassino, who won the race a year ago and dominated the field with four wins last season, controlled just outside the skis during his first run, when he was already .57 behind then-leader Sifflin. I lost.

Brignone was 1.52 late after the first run on the 15th before hooking the gate with his second left arm.

Other big names also struggled, with France’s prominent Tessa Worley finishing in 8th place with 2.06, and New Zealand’s Alice Robinson, who won the opening round in 2019, was 2.41 seconds behind in 11th place.

The traditional opening race in October, which comes early in the winter, is usually a race where many skiers can’t find the rhythm seven months after the end of the previous season.

“Sometimes people aren’t pushing too hard, they almost try to use it as training, but you really have to attack this hill,” Schifflin said.

Schifflin led a powerful show by the US ski team, where four out of five starters scored World Cup points, including Nina O’Brien’s 9th best career. AJ Hart finished in 20th place and Paula Morzan in 23rd place.

9,000 spectators participated in the race in the midst of strict anti-coronavirus measures.

A minute of silence before the race was dedicated to long-time FIS president Jean Franco Kasper, who died in July, just weeks after Johann Elias was elected successor.

The Men’s World Cup will start on Sunday at GS on the same hill.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 70th World Cup ski opener

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