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Shiffrin runs it out in the cold rain and snow


Shiffrin in Bormio (GEPA/Christian Walgram)

Shiffrin in Bormio (GEPA/Christian Walgram)

BORMIO, Italy — Municipal workers furiously shoveled piles of water-logged snow off sidewalks in town as the women’s World Cup field tackled three separate precipitation zones on their way through the final section of the men’s downhill course — the famed Stelvio — during today’s slalom. The weather, decisively snow at the start and rain at the finish, was a mixture of sleet, slop, and freezing rain by the midpoint of the course first run, and it did not abate during the second.

“The weather reminds me of Vermont, the Northeast Kingdom. I got out here this morning, and I was like, ‘Yes! Here we go. I’m going to be soaking wet,’” said Mikaela Shiffrin. “The gates hit the snow, and the slush comes off and hits you in the goggles, so by the end of the course you can’t really see but you can see just enough to finish. You have to keep going and embrace it, because it’s happening to everyone — might as well embrace it.”

Shiffrin held only three-hundredths of a second lead over Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmer heading into the second run.

“After Lienz I had a couple days of tough training, and everything was starting to get in my head, so I thought maybe I should just try to let it go. You know, have some fun with it. So that was a really fun run, but I think I have more speed in me,” Shiffrin remarked after the first run.

It was a rough go even for Pietilae-Holmner, who didn’t necessarily feel all that clean on the hill despite finishing second on the day.

“It (was) a bit bumpy in the top section, but the lower part was in good shape,” said Pietilae-Holmner. “I was surprised when I saw how fast I was but the slope was definitely holding up. The only difficulty was dealing with the wet snow chucks that you got on the goggles.”

France’s Nastasia Noens matched her career-best result — and only previous podium — from Flachau in 2011 by finishing third from bib 28. She skied the fastest second run and moved onto the podium from her 11th-place position after first run, much to the surprise of the crowd at the finish line.

“Last summer I focused on improving my technique to be back as I once was. At the beginning of the season I had a few problems, but this result finally gives me great satisfaction and makes me realize that I’m still as strong as I used to be two years ago. Thinking of Sochi, this is what I wanted because it makes me even more confident,” remarked Noens.

Disappointment struck a number of skiers on the second run who had to fight against ruts and deteriorating conditions on the upper pitch. A challenging hairpin set over a roller just eight turns into the course challenged racers to hold their line, and a hard left foot delay in the flat swallowed the momentum of several skiers.

Marlies Schild, who was just two points behind Shiffrin in the slalom standings heading into today’s race, attacked on her second run but appeared to overwork her skis in the peeling snow. She sat 15th after first run but was only able to move up to sixth by the end of the race. Shiffrin now leads the slalom standings by 62 points over Schild as a result of the day.

It was another top-5 finish for Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon who charged hard from 15th into fifth with a quick-paced second run, while her teammate Erin Mielzynski logged her first slalom points of the season by finishing 17th.

“It was one of those races where you have to be flexible and do whatever you can. It was half rain, half snow,” noted Gagnon. “I had a pretty tough time just to make it to the bottom in the second run because I was really wild but I was charging. It was pretty tough.” With another solid result, Gagnon has moved into third in the slalom standings. She finished last season in 17th with fewer points than she has already accumulated after only half of the slalom races on the calendar this year.

Misfortune struck Tina Maze. Although in striking distance of the podium after first run, Maze completely lost her form in the ruts and fell from fifth all the way back to 24th, more than two seconds behind Shiffrin’s winning pace. Maze was visibly distraught in the finish area, just as she has been several times this season that simply isn’t coming together for her as easily as last year. Also frustrated was Maria Hoefl-Riesch who exited the second run course early after trying to ski a flush backwards and getting thrown even farther off line.

The first World Cup women’s slalom race held in Bormio since Finals in 2008, today’s race was a replacement for Zagreb, Croatia where warm temperatures prevented sufficient snowmaking in order to host the event. Shiffrin was last year’s winner at the Zagreb Snow Queen Trophy race as well, and this is her second victory this season, solidifying her place at the top of the slalom standings.

“Marlies (Schild) and Maria (Hoefl-Riesch) and all the girls, really, they all want to get that top spot and get the red bib, so I’m just trying to stay focused on each day,” noted Shiffrin. “I’m happy to get back on the podium and back on the top step heading into the Olympics. From here, it’s all about who has the most confidence.”

See more photos from this race in our gallery

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup slalom, Bormio, Italy, Jan 5, 2014

Equipment - Skier, skis/boots/bindings

1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

2 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

3 Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon

4 Schild, B. Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

5 Gagnon, Rossignol/Lange/Rossignol

6 Schild, M Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

7 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic

8 Swenn-Larsson, Head/Head/Head

9 Wirth, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer

10 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s World Cup slalom, Bormio, Italy, Jan 5, 2014. … make up race from Zagreb Jan 4. … It is the 16th race of the women’s 32 race 2014 World Cup schedule… the fourth of eighth scheduled slaloms. … It is the 54th World Cup race hosted by Bormio… the 12th slalom and eighth for women.

It is the sixth career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin, all in slalom. … her second win of the season after winning at Levi, Nov. 16. … It is the 263rd U.S. World Cup win. … She matches Kristina Koznick for fourth on the all-time U.S. list for World Cup slalom wins. Koz is the only other American to win a World Cup slalom at Bormio, scored March 19, 2000.

It is the sixth career World Cup podium for Maria Pietilae-Holmner, the fourth in slalom. … It is her second podium of the season having placed third in GS at Val d’Isere Dec. 22.

It is the second career World Cup podium for Nastasia Noens, the previous also a third and also in slalom, scored at Flachau Jan. 11, 2011.

It is the eighth career top-five World Cup finish for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … Her third of the season all in slalom. … It is the second scoring result for Erin Mielzynski this season, the other a 16th place in GS at Beaver Creek Dec. 1.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch (DNF 2nd run in race) maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 611-609 over Tina Weirather (did not race). … Anna Fenninger (did not race) is third with 597pts. … Shiffrin leads the U.S. in fifth with 414pts and Gagnon the Canadians in eighth with 280pts.

Shiffrin leads the slalom standings 302-240 over Marlies Schild (sixth in race). … Gagnon is third with 180pts.

 

Results

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time FIS Points
 1  3  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  57.72  1:02.69  2:00.41  0.00
 2  13  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  57.75  1:02.79  2:00.54  0.67
 3  28  196806 NOENS Nastasia 1988 FRA  58.85  1:02.18  2:01.03  3.19
 4  8  56032 SCHILD Bernadette 1990 AUT  58.52  1:02.63  2:01.15  3.81
 5  11  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  59.00  1:02.52  2:01.52  5.72
 6  7  55590 SCHILD Marlies 1981 AUT  58.90  1:02.65  2:01.55  5.87
 7  14  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT  59.53  1:02.19  2:01.72  6.75
 8  18  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE  59.03  1:02.72  2:01.75  6.90
 9  30  205239 WIRTH Barbara 1989 GER  59.41  1:02.35  2:01.76  6.95
 10  4  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  58.45  1:03.40  2:01.85  7.41
 11  37  297851 AZZOLA Michela 1991 ITA  59.47  1:02.50  2:01.97  8.03
 12  25  506341 WIKSTROEM Emelie 1992 SWE  58.60  1:03.39  2:01.99  8.14
 12  5  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI  58.21  1:03.78  2:01.99  8.14
 14  15  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT  59.68  1:02.36  2:02.04  8.39
 15  26  515997 FEIERABEND Denise 1989 SUI  59.03  1:03.08  2:02.11  8.75
 16  33  506583 SAEFVENBERG Charlotta 1994 SWE  59.83  1:02.39  2:02.22  9.32
 17  19  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN  59.30  1:02.99  2:02.29  9.68
 17  17  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  58.88  1:03.41  2:02.29  9.68
 19  10  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  58.61  1:03.78  2:02.39  10.20
 20  27  196726 BARTHET Anne-Sophie 1988 FRA  59.81  1:02.63  2:02.44  10.45
 21  9  506350 EKLUND Nathalie 1992 SWE  59.07  1:03.41  2:02.48  10.66
 22  20  55807 DAUM Alexandra 1986 AUT  59.80  1:02.71  2:02.51  10.81
 23  12  185140 POUTIAINEN Tanja 1980 FIN  59.19  1:03.45  2:02.64  11.48
 24  2  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  58.49  1:04.18  2:02.67  11.64
 25  38  206160 RIESCH Susanne 1987 GER  59.96  1:02.73  2:02.69  11.74
 26  6  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin 1986 AUT  58.54  1:04.49  2:03.03  13.49
Did not start 1st run
 76  715123 NOVAKOVIC Zana 1985 BIH
 75  95050 KIRKOVA Maria 1986 BUL
 31  106183 TERWIEL Elli 1989 CAN
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 77  435313 MAJERCZYK Sabina 1993 POL
 72  297171 FANCHINI Sabrina 1988 ITA
 70  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND
 69  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA
 68  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA
 65  516344 KOPP Rahel 1994 SUI
 63  196179 BERTRAND Marion 1984 FRA
 62  506348 STAALNACKE Ylva 1992 SWE
 61  705349 GANTNEROVA Jana 1989 SVK
 59  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER
 58  206290 HUEBNER Monica 1990 GER
 57  506555 BLOMQVIST Lisa 1994 SWE
 55  65038 PERSYN Karen 1983 BEL
 54  185317 SOPPELA Merle 1991 FIN
 53  355040 NIGG Marina 1984 LIE
 52  55898 BREM Eva-Maria 1988 AUT
 51  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA
 50  107044 IRWIN Madison 1991 CAN
 49  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN
 48  196793 MARMOTTAN Anemone 1988 FRA
 47  206174 STABER Veronika 1987 GER
 46  297591 BENZONI Marta 1990 ITA
 45  56258 AGER Christina 1995 AUT
 44  305962 HANAOKA Moe 1984 JPN
 43  297233 PARDELLER Sarah 1988 ITA
 42  565320 FERK Marusa 1988 SLO
 40  195972 AUBERT Sandrine 1982 FRA
 39  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI
 36  506664 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena 1995 SWE
 35  306096 HOSHI Mizue 1985 JPN
 34  425887 LOESETH Mona 1991 NOR
 32  305944 KIYOSAWA Emiko 1983 JPN
 29  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA
 24  107068 PHELAN Brittany 1991 CAN
 21  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT
Did not finish 2nd run
 23  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER
 22  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA
 16  206279 GEIGER Christina 1990 GER
 1  206001 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria 1984 GER
Did not finish 1st run
 74  35079 SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen 1982 ARG
 73  665009 SHKANOVA Maria 1989 BLR
 71  385041 NOVOSELIC Sofija 1990 CRO
 67  485637 ALOPINA Ksenia 1992 RUS
 66  705394 KANTOROVA Barbara 1992 SVK
 64  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE
 60  206536 WALLNER Marina 1994 GER
 56  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB
 41  506557 GRASSL Paulina 1994 SWE
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