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EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin won her seventh straight World Cup slalom race in dominant fashion in Zagreb, Croatia on Saturday – topping second-place Slovakian Petra Vlhova by a staggering 1.25 seconds. Third-place Swiss racer Wendy Holdener was 1.75 seconds back.
Shiffrin has now won on the Crveni Spust course four times in her career, but she was concerned the day before the race.
“Of course I like the track here [in Zagreb], I’ve had some great races here, but I’ve also had some difficult races here,” Shiffrin said. “It’s easy to lose momentum when you have a couple of days off [over the holiday]; right now it’s important to be really focused and maintain the energy so I can fight hard. And I think it’s going to be a fight tomorrow.”
Turns out she had nothing to worry about. The two-time defending overall champion and double Olympic gold medalist was the only racer to come in under a minute in the first run, leading Holdener by 1.15 and Vlhova by 1.34. The Slovakian trimmed a little of that advantage in the second run, but the Swiss skier fell further back.
Shiffrin matched her personal best streak of seven straight slalom wins that she set two years ago. The all-time greatest female slalom skier with 37 career wins, Shiffrin has now won 12 of the last 13 World Cup slaloms and 28 of the last 34 World Cup slaloms she competed in.
After setting the all-time record with 15 wins in the last calendar year, Shiffrin now has nine wins this season – five in slalom, two in super-G, one om parallel slalom and one in giant slalom.
She is six wins away from setting the single-season record of 15, and with 52 career victories, she’s just four wins from passing Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider for third on the all-time women’s victory list behind only Vail’s Lindsey Vonn (82) and Austria’s Annemarie Moser Proell (62).
Here’s the U.S. Ski Team press release on Shiffrin’s win:
Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) is back to her old ways again – winning slalom races by more than a second!
Shiffrin crowned Snow Queen once again in Zagreb
For the fourth time in her career, Shiffrin was crowned the “Snow Queen” following her FIS Ski World Cup slalom win in Zagreb, Croatia, Saturday. This was also her seventh-straight World Cup slalom win and her 37th career slalom victory. And once again, she defeated Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who settled for second for the fourth time this season; and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener who rounded out the podium in third.
Shiffrin’s 1.25-second margin of victory is her largest since she defeated Holdener by 1.58 seconds on March 17, 2018, in Are, Sweden. In the two World Cup slaloms leading up to Zagreb, Vlhova was second at just .29-seconds back in Courchevel, France, and Semmering, Austria. But Saturday, Shiffrin demonstrated why she is indeed the best skier in the world, especially on a hard, fast track.
“It’s the perfect track to be aggressive,” said Shiffrin, who also won seven-straight slalom races in 2016. “I just tried to do my best, and the surface was perfect, so it’s easier to be really aggressive.”
Shiffrin took a 1.15-second first-run lead over Holdener. In the second run, Vlhova put the pressure on both Holdener and Shiffrin with a flawless run. With Vlhova sitting in the hot seat, Shiffrin opened up a 1.36-second advantage at the first interval and was well on her way to victory before a small bobble cost her 0.51 seconds. But in typical Shiffrin fashion, she shifted gears and pulled back time for her 52nd career World Cup win.
“I had a scary moment in the middle there, but actually the second run was really cool because I was aggressive,” Shiffrin said. “I was really pushing. I had this mistake, but after that, I was fighting back again. I wasn’t skiing to protect something today.”
Paula Moltzan (Burlington, Vt.) started 28th in the first run and finished 12th. She was well on her way to a career-best result in the second run but cut a gate too tight near the finish, straddled, and DNF’d.
The women race slalom again on Tuesday in Flachau, Austria, followed by a speed series in
St. Anton, Austria, Jan. 10-13 and giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, Jan. 15. After competing in six events over the past 15 days, Shiffrin is balancing training and rest, while working on her race plans heading into the World Championships in Are, Sweden, Feb. 4-17.
“It’s a little bit up in the air right now,” Shiffrin said of her upcoming race plans. “After Oslo, I was thinking ‘I’m pretty tired,’ and coming (to Zagreb) I felt pretty good today. But it’s difficult to manage the energy. So my plan is to do Cortina (Italy) – all the races. But I’m not sure if it’s going to work out. Basically, I’m going to decide about that after Kronplatz and see how the training goes.”
Shiffrin leads the overall World Cup standings by 496 points over Vlhova. She also leads the slalom and super-G standings and is third in the giant slalom standings.
Women’s World Cup overall
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Jan. 6
6:15 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 1 – Zagreb, CRO – OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 2 – Zagreb, CRO – Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
Saturday, Jan. 12
4:15 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom run 1 – Adelboden, SUI – OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. – Women’s downhill – St. Anton, AUT – NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom run 2 – Adelboden, SUI – Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, Jan. 13
4:15 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 1 – Adelboden, SUI – OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:45 a.m. – Women’s super-G – St. Anton, AUT – NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. – Men’s slalom run 2 – Adelboden, SUI – Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold