Shiffrin suffers upset, Hirscher wins GS at Aspen World Cup on Saturday
The Aspen Times
ASPEN — Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova played spoiler in Saturday’s World Cup Finals women’s slalom race in Aspen, edging fan favorite Mikaela Shiffrin on the final run for the win.
Vail’s Shiffrin, who clinched the slalom globe last week with her win at Squaw Valley, California, had a .11 second lead on Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter for first with only Vlhova to race.
But Vlhova, who led after the first run, was masterful over the final split, which is usually where Shiffrin dominates. Vlhova finished with a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 32 seconds, while Shiffrin finished .24 back. Hansdotter took third.
The bigger news was the absence of Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec, who specializes in speed events, deciding not to race in Saturday’s slalom. Stuhec was the only person with a chance to catch Shiffrin in the overall, her absence giving the U.S. its first overall globe winner since Lindsey Vonn in 2012.
It is Shiffrin’s fourth slalom globe in five years, and her first overall title.
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“I don’t know if I’ll ever process that,” Shiffrin, 22, said moments after the race about her overall title. “It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was 5-years-old. It’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years.”
The only women’s race remaining is Sunday’s giant slalom, where Shiffrin trails France’s Tessa Worley by 80 points for the discipline globe.
“I’m definitely motivated after today,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t want to leave anything out there.”
Hirscher strikes again
Marcel Hirscher showed Aspen why he’s a champion Saturday in the men’s giant slalom in the World Cup Finals.
Hirscher of Austria overcame a .01 second deficit in the first run and warming temperatures to lay down a flawless second run. He defeated Felix Neureuther of Germany by more than a half second.
The victory was the third in a row for Hirscher and capped another incredible season. He won the Crystal Globe in men’s giant slalom and he also wrapped up the overall title before the Finals.
Hirscher’s combined time in the giant slalom was 1:49.79. Neureuther was 0.53 back. Mathieu Faivre of France was third.
Alexis Pinturault of France, who was second overall in the giant slalom, skied off the course and did not finish. He had consistently defeated Hirscher this season, with three victories, but he also disqualified numerous times to lose valuable points.
Hirscher looked smooth and powerful on his first run, linking turns in areas where most other racers appeared choppy. He topped Pinturault, who was first out of the gate, by 0.22 seconds.
But his first-run lead was short-lived. Neureuther came just two skiers after Hirscher and topped him by 0.01 with a time of 53.11 seconds.
The order was reversed for the second run, with Hirscher second to last and Neureuther the final skier on the slope.
—The Aspen Times
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