Marta Bassino won her second straight World Cup giant slalom of the season on Saturday, and Mikaela Shiffrin placed fourth in her return to the event after an 11-month gap.

Bassino produced the fastest second-run time after trailing world champion Petra Vlhova the first time down in the morning.

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The Italian racer finished 0.46 ahead of hard-charging Sara Hector, and 0.59 clear of Vlhova whose three-race winning streak was ended.

Shiffrin had been third-fastest in the morning and was again quick in the top sections before losing time in the lower part of a course slowed by steady falling snow. She finished 1.70 behind Bassino.

The American star skied straight out of the finish area without looking back at the big screen broadcasting her run. There were no fans at the race in the upscale French Alps resort.

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA). Photo: GEPA pictures/Christian Walgram

Shiffrin, the 2018 Olympic champion in giant slalom, last raced the event in the World Cup in January. That was just before the death of her father and the spreading coronavirus pandemic which ended the season early. A back injury forced her to skip the season-opening giant slalom won by Bassino at Soelden, Austria, in October.

For the second GS race of the season, Nina O’Brien, who is in the process of healing a broken hand, was able to crack into points, finishing 19th. Paula Moltzan and the other Americans, Keely Cashman, AJ Hurt, were unable to qualify for second run.

In her second World Cup race back from injury, Valerie Grenier was the leading Canadian — and the only to make second run — finishing 13th from the 58th start position.

Vlhova won all three races since – two slaloms at Levi, Finland, where Shiffrin returned to competition, and a parallel racing event at Lech, Austria.

The Slovakian racer has a clear lead in the early season overall standings over Bassino. World Cup defending champion Federica Brignone placed fifth on Saturday.

A second giant slalom is scheduled Sunday at Courchevel, where Shiffrin won in 2017 and 2018.

Women’s World Cup – Giant Slalom – Courchevel, France — Dec. 12, 2020

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, great race in the second run. The conditions for the second run were really bad, especially in the middle of the course, where it was foggy, snowy, and rough. Shiffrin was skiing fast until she clipped a gate in the middle of course, causing over rotation, tail skid, and losing a full second at that split. Petra was looking supremely good in the first run, but skied wide and slightly out of her carve through most of the second run. Marta had the best second run for sure

  2. Sara Hector did look like the strongest girl in that second run. She’s back in contention in GS. Consider that Federica, who was a dominant GS racers last season, and skied well in this race, but was only 5th. So, the womens GS is very competitive this year

  3. I commented somewhere else that Mikaela was braking too much. The reason for this seemed to be that she was trying to hold her edge on the turn with her inside ski, which is harder. She needed to be riding the outside ski’s edge. I didn’t look closely enough; but it seems probable that Mikaela was not taking a high enough line. This caused her to do he slalom type slide maneuver. This is relatively bad technique for GS, unless you absolutely have to do it. A higher line would allow her to take a more vertical approach to the gate. This would allow her to ride the outside ski easily through the entire turn. The bad visibility may have played into all of this; but I am guessing Mikaela has relapsed a bit to her slalom technique for GS after not ski racing too much.

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