Vlhova beats Mikaela Shiffrin, who returns to World Cup slalom after quarantine

ZAGREB, Croatia – Only their Slovak rival, Petra vlhova, was out of reach. On the contrary, Mikaela Shiffrin made a satisfying return to competition in a light-up slalom on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19 and missing two races last week. The American was five tenths of a second behind Vlhova in the first World Cup event of the calendar year.

“I think I skied very well,” he said. Shiffrin. “Especially after the last two weeks it’s wonderful to come back. To have been able to ski my best slalom is great.”

Shiffrin, who on Monday received the green light to compete, was the only competitor under the difficult conditions to finish within two seconds of the winning record of Vlhova, because the world champion in slalom, Katharina LiensbergerIn third place, she already had a huge deficit of 2 seconds 11 hundredths with respect to the leader.

Two weeks ago, Shiffrin He finished first and second, respectively, in two giant slalons in France, but tested positive for COVID-19 prior to two technical races in Austria the following week.

“After Courchevel, my tank was completely empty, so I needed some time to rest – and then I got a lot more time to rest,” he said. Shiffrin. “It wasn’t really recovery and I couldn’t really exercise or train for 10 days or more.”

Vlhova won slalom in the Lienz Dolomites while Shiffrin he was in quarantine last week. She has won four of the five slalons this season and leads the positions in the discipline by 140 points over Shiffrin by subtracting four runs. The American continued as the overall leader, with 115 points more than her Slovak rival.

Its immense deficit in the slalom ranking has raised awareness among Shiffrin that she has “nothing to lose” as winning a seventh season title in her strongest discipline seems difficult for her.

“I am no longer competing for the balloon. Too much has happened this year so I just try to do my best in each run,” said the American.

“These two runs today, it’s the best training I can have,” she continued. “It is good practice, physically and mentally. If there is no other option, I am getting back on track, step by step, and today is a very, very big step.”

Even so, Vlhova stayed one step ahead of for her third consecutive victory in the traditional first slalom race of the calendar year, which the American had won four times between 2013 and 2019.

“It was very difficult because the conditions were not very perfect,” he said. Vlhova, who has won 11 of the last 17 World Cup slalons. “Also, Zagreb is very long, so when you go into the last stage, you start to feel your legs, and you have to breathe again and start over.”

The soft snow surface on the Crveni Spust track and flurries churning swirling leaves resulted in challenging conditions, and the race had to be interrupted after 17 competitors in the second heat as the organizers removed the finish flag for reasons of safety amid rising winds.

Liensberger was one of many competitors who lost a lot of time, or ran off the track, going through a hole in the snow surface about 15 seconds after starting. Shiffrin Y Vlhova they chose a wider line to avoid the obstacle and clear the next gate smoothly, while also gaining a second over most of the competitors.

Wendy holdener, who was third after the opening heat, also struggled at that point and fell to fourth place, just ahead of Ali nullmeyer. The Canadian skier posted the second fastest time for a run and improved from 17th. for the best result of his career.

At least seven competitors, including three from the Swiss team, had to miss the event after testing positive for COVID-19, which requires a 10-day quarantine and a negative test before the competitors are allowed to return to the circuit.

No spectators were allowed at the race outside the Croatian capital, which is usually among the most-visited events on the women’s calendar.

The Women’s World Cup continues with a giant slalom and slalom in Kranjska Gora this weekend, an event that was moved from another Slovenian resort, Maribor, due to lack of snow.