Shiffrin takes big lead in World Cup slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin built a lead of a full second on Saturday in the opening run of the final women’s World Cup slalom before the world championships.

The American two-time overall champion had a near-flawless run on the Radvanje course to lead main rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia by 1.00.

Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden was another 0.09 further behind in third, while Olympic slalom champion Frida Hansdotter of Sweden had to make up 1.57 seconds in the final run.

Shiffrin is after her 12th World Cup victory of the season, matching her personal best from last year. Only Swiss great Vreni Schneider has won more races in a single season — 14 in 1988-89.

In two weeks, Shiffrin will be aiming for a record fourth straight slalom world title at the championships in Are, Sweden.

A day after receiving physical therapy following her shared victory with Vlhova in a giant slalom, Shiffrin was at her best in her strongest discipline.

She attacked from the start and never faced problems on a course she called “a little bit tough” afterward, as mild temperatures softened the top layer.

Shiffrin clenched her fists as soon as she saw her finishing time on a large video screen.

Vlhova, who came from behind to beat Shiffrin in the previous slalom in Flachau, Austria, never managed to threaten the American’s time. Vlhova trailed by more than a half-second at the first split time and her deficit nearly doubled at the finish, where she shrugged her shoulders.

Vlhova has finished runner-up to Shiffrin in five slaloms this season. No female skier in the 53-year history of the World Cup has more second places in a single discipline in one season.

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