Mikaela Shiffrin is on a tear. Three races, three wins so far in 2018 as the American prodigy continued her banner season heading into the Olympics with a giant slalom win in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
Even though she woke up Saturday morning feeling nauseous and eventually getting sick due to a flu bug making the rounds on the women’s tour this week, you wouldn’t know it as Shiffrin was able to muster up enough strength to take her 39th World Cup victory.
With unseasonably warm weather plaguing southern Europe in recent weeks, the 54th Golden Fox Trophy that was originally scheduled to take place in Maribor, Slovenia, was moved to the more Northern town of Kranjska Gora. Traditionally a staple on the men’s circuit, the women haven’t visited Kranjska Gora since 2014 for a lone slalom race and haven’t raced GS at the venue since 2012.
“I’m really happy with my skiing,” Shiffrin shared. “I’m loose and really aggressive so that’s really exciting for me. A lot of the girls have been sick or are sick so I think maybe nobody’s racing at one hundred percent today. The best way to ski is aggressive, it’s also the safest way to ski but for sure in the second run it was a little bit bumpier, a little bit more rough and I was trying to be aggressive but I also didn’t want to risk everything.”
Shiffrin’s win opens up her lead in the overall standings to a whopping 647 points over her next closest competitor, Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg. Shiffrin also overtook Rebensburg in the GS standings as the American now leads in every discipline except for super-G, where she sits 18th.
France’s Tessa Worley was the last women’s GS winner in Kranjska Gora and was looking to grab her first victory of the season and continue to build on her form. The reigning World Cup and World GS Champion couldn’t match Shiffrin, however, as Worley finished 0.31 seconds back in second place.
“I managed to push better than the first races of the season so I’m happy about my skiing,” she said. “It wasn’t perfect, I need to improve some parts on the slope. I’m feeling good. I know my skiing is pretty good and I just need to be confident about it and be able to charge more in the races. I’m trying every race to charge a little more and take a little more risk to get first place, I’ll see how it goes.”
Italian firecracker Sofia Goggia also made a welcome return to the GS podium, finishing third, 0.91 seconds off the winning pace.
“I’m super happy, super stoked with the result,” Goggia said. “In the second run, even though I didn’t start that well, I skied in the Goggia spirit, Goggia style of aggressive and attacking style so I’m super happy with the result.”
22-year-old Swede Estelle Alphand has also been one to watch this season. If her last name sounds familiar, it’s because her father is French legend and 1997 overall World Cup champion Luc Alphand. Due to her having dual French and Swedish citizenship because of her parents, Alphand made the decision over the summer to ski for Sweden.
Alphand has managed to turn more than a few heads with blistering speed translating to a number of career-best finishes. She was fifth in the slalom in Lienz, Austria, last month and jumped up 19 places in the standings on Saturday to finish 10th thanks to the fastest second run.
“I feel more confident and more calm,” she said of her year. “I know exactly what I’m doing so that’s the key. With training, everything went well this summer and just continuing to go on races so it’s just hard work and confidence. The (Swedish) team is really nice, really great. I just feel very good in this team and it helps me go to the maximum and push my limits so I’m just happy.”
After Shiffrin, Americans AJ Hurt and Foreste Peterson, who also represents Dartmouth College on the NCAA circuit, both did not qualify for the second run.
The women now race slalom on Sunday in Kranjska Gora.
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2. Tessa Worley (FRA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
3. Sofia Goggia (ITA) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head/Head/Head
5. Stephanie Brunner (AUT) – Head/Head/Head
6. Federica Brignone (ITA) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
7. Tina Robnik (SLO) – Voelkl/Dalbello/Marker
7. Sara Hector (SWE) – Head/Head/Head
9. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
10.Estelle Alphand (SWE) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|18||21||197124||FRASSE SOMBET Coralie||1991||FRA||57.49||52.20||1:49.69||+2.29||20.90||13|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|59||299388||BERTANI Luisa Matilde Maria||1996||ITA||1:01.15||0|
|39||6536392||HURT A J||2000||USA||59.83||0|
|38||426100||HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst||1995||NOR||1:01.00||0|
|22||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||59.19||0|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|73||960100||DIPOL Alessia Afi||1995||TOG||0|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|48||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR||0|