Hansdotter holds WCup slalom lead
FLACHAU, Austria — Frida Hansdotter of Sweden built a commanding lead in the opening run of a women’s World Cup night slalom on Tuesday, leaving Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin with 1.38 seconds to make up in the second run.
Hansdotter, who won the slalom title last season when Shiffrin missed five races with a knee injury, finished 0.95 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland.
The rest of the field, led by Nina Loeseth of Norway in third, was more than a second off the lead.
Hansdotter failed to get a top-three result in the first four races this season but returned to the podium by coming third in Maribor, Slovenia, on Sunday.
Shiffrin, who has won five of six slaloms this season, avoided major mistakes but still finished well behind Hansdotter in fifth.
Shiffrin was on a seven-race winning streak until she failed to finish her first run of the race in Zagreb, Croatia, last week. After going back to the top of the podium in Maribor, she said she wasn’t satisfied with her skiing.
In Tuesday’s race, Shiffrin was 0.39 off the lead at the first split on a course set by American coach Jeff Lackie. She lost more time on Hansdotter in the middle and bottom sections.
“1.38, it’s easy to lose that kind of time if you ski a couple of turns a little bit tentative. And Frida really attacked,” Shiffrin said.
In the slalom standings, the American holds a 110-point lead over Veronika Velez Zuzulova. The Slovak had 1.15 seconds to make up on Hansdotter in the second run.
Overall World Cup champion Lara Gut of Switzerland, who rarely competes in slalom races, failed to finish her opening run. Gut trails leader Shiffrin by 305 points in this season’s overall standings.
It’s the race with the highest prize money on the women’s World Cup, with the winner earning 70,000 euros ($74,000).
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Now that our rivers are clear and have dropped to winter levels, our ability to read the water and skip the barren zones, focusing on where the fish are (and more importantly, the insects) becomes vitally important.