Slovakian skier Petra Vlhova used a frenetic finish on her final run to win the last women’s World Cup slalom of the season Saturday, while Mikaela Shiffrin placed third.
Vlhova trailed then-leader Leona Popovic by eight-hundredths of a second at the last split but gained time through the gates on the flat final sector to beat the Croatian prodigy by 0.43 seconds in Soldeu, Andorra.
Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by 0.83 for her 17th podium result from 30 starts this season.
Shiffrin won six of the previous 10 slaloms this season and the American locked up the discipline title in January. She has also secured her fifth overall and second giant slalom globe.
“It’s the sum of a lot of hard work and many amazing races and the work of the whole team,” Shiffrin said in a post-race TV interview. “I’m very thankful and very proud.”
Shiffrin will be after her 14th win of the season and 88th in total in Sunday’s giant slalom, the last race of the season, a week after setting the record for most career victories with 87 in Åre, Sweden.
“Since Åre I felt a little bit more free,” Shiffrin said. “And even then, I still feel the nerves and the pressure, like I want to win just as much as before. I still have the same motivation, which is the most exciting thing.”
‘My season was so up and down’
Vlhova won the season title in slalom last year and won her second race in the current campaign after triumphing in a night event in Austria in January.
“It’s [emotional] because my season was so up and down,” Vlhova said. “I wanted to come here and show my skiing in the last races and have a good feeling for the next season.”
After the first run, Vlhova led Popovic by 0.32 seconds. Third-place Anna Swenn Larsson was 0.56 behind but the Swede straddled a gate in her final run.
Shiffrin was 0.59 behind in fourth. The American led until the final split but lost three-quarters of a second after making a mistake entering the flat finish sector.
Canadian skier Laurence St-Germain, who beat Shiffrin to the world slalom title last month, was 10th after the opening run but became one of six skiers who didn’t finish the second run, which was affected by rain and wet snow as dark clouds moved over the course.
“It was tricky with the snow coming. There’s just like so many weather conditions today,” Shiffrin said. “It was really fun to race, it’s a challenging slope and it’s kind of interesting to finish the season with that. Because for me it gives a lot insight into the things we can work on through the summer and into the preparation for next season. So, it kind of leaves some motivation.”
WATCH | Full coverage of women’s slalom 2nd run:
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