Mikaela Shiffrin wins World Cup snowboarding opener for seventieth win

Shiffrin turned solely the third skier in World Cup historical past to succeed in the 70-win mark.

Mikaela Shiffrin excelled within the season-opening World Cup large slalom on Saturday, displaying two runs of close to flawless snowboarding on one of many hardest hills on the ladies’s circuit to earn her seventieth profession win.

The American Olympic champion’s efficiency was an excessive amount of even for Lara Intestine-Behrami, the reigning GS world champion from Switzerland.

Shiffrin sat .02 behind Intestine-Behrami after the opening leg however put in one other clear run within the second to edge her Swiss rival by .14 in excellent sunny situations on the Rettenbach glacier.

“Beginning off the season sturdy is necessary, so I’m tremendous blissful,” Shiffrin stated. “It is a pleasure to ski in the present day, they did so wonderful with this (course) preparation, it felt so wonderful to ski this hill.”

The pair completed effectively forward of the remainder of the sector, with defending general champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia trailing by 1.30 seconds in third.

Shiffrin turned solely the third skier in World Cup historical past to succeed in the 70-win mark, after Ingemar Stenmark and Lindsey Vonn achieved the feat earlier than they completed their careers on 86 and 82 wins, respectively.

“I assume now it’s,” stated Shiffrin when requested whether or not the variety of 70 meant one thing particular to her. “It’s a nice achievement, I’m proud. Seventy is unbelievable however the objective in the present day was to ski effectively.”

And Shiffrin did simply that on Saturday.

She opened race with a clear run, briefly shrugged her shoulders after ending, however her time simply held up when different pre-race favorites got here down.

Solely Intestine-Behrami, who had an aggressive run in excellent sunny situations on the Rettenbach glacier, led Shiffrin’s time by a number of hundredths all through her run.

Intestine-Behrami had the sooner begin and was .09 forward on the first break up however misplaced a fraction of her lead over Shiffrin at every of the next verify factors.

“It was a extremely tremendous clear run. I felt actually good in my snowboarding,” Shiffrin stated after the primary run. “Watching Lara, she can be tremendous on level and possibly a bit bit extra energetic, like a bit further one thing.”

The battle for victory took an intriguing flip within the second leg.

After Shiffrin put strain on Intestine-Bahrami by posting the quickest second-run tun by far, the Swiss skier discovered herself .10 down on the first verify level, however gained time on Shiffrin coming into the steep center part, regaining the lead with a bonus of .24.

Nonetheless, she didn’t match Shiffrin on the underside part.

Shiffrin’s thirteenth win in GS got here seven years after she gained her first race within the self-discipline on the identical venue, sharing the 2014 victory with Austria’s Anna Fenninger.

A number of of Shiffrin fundamental challengers had a tough begin to their seasons.

Most notably, Italian GS specialists Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone each skied out.

Bassino, who gained the race a yr in the past and dominated the self-discipline with 4 wins final season, misplaced management of her proper outdoors ski midway by way of her first run, when she was already .57 behind then-leader Shiffrin.

Brignone was 1.52 behind after the primary run in fifteenth earlier than hooking a gate together with her left arm within the second.

Different massive names struggled as effectively, with French standout Tessa Worley ending 2.06 behind in eighth and New Zealand’s Alice Robinson, who gained the season opener in 2019, coming 2.41 seconds off the lead in eleventh.

Coming so early within the winter season, the standard season-opener in October is normally a race the place many skiers fail to seek out their rhythm, seven months after the top of the earlier season.

“Generally persons are not pushing so exhausting, they simply strive virtually to make use of it as coaching, however you actually must assault this hill,” Shiffrin stated.

Shiffrin led a powerful displaying by the U.S. ski workforce, which had 4 of their 5 starters scoring World Cup factors, together with a career-best ninth place for Nina O’Brien. Additionally, AJ Harm positioned twentieth, and Paula Moltzan completed in twenty third.

Amid tight anti-coronavirus measures, the race was attended by 9,000 spectators.

A minute’s silence previous to the race was devoted to Gian Franco Kasper, the longstanding FIS president who died in July, simply weeks after Johan Eliasch was elected as his successor.

The lads’s World Cup begins Sunday with a GS on the identical hill.

Extra AP snowboarding: https://apnews.com/hub/snowboarding and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Eric Willemsen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/eWilmedia

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