Shiffrin gets first slalom win of the season in Kühtai
Kühtai in Tirol, Austria – For the last race of 2014, weather conditions were nearly perfect early in the morning but snow and fog started invading the valley as the day went on. The thirty racers qualified for the second run skied in rather poor visibility.
In the lead after the first run, USA's Mikaela Shiffrin put a very strong second run together and posted the fastest time as well. She finished in a combined time of 1:43.39 seconds to edge out her rivals Czech Republic's Sarka Strachova and Switzerland's Wendy Holdener, both respectively 0.80 and 0.92 seconds off the pace.
Mikaela Shiffrin had yet to finish on the podium in a World Cup Slalom race this season as she finished 11th in Levi, fifth in Aspen and fourth in Åre, going into Monday's slalom race. She admitted after her third place in the giant slalom on Sunday that she had made changes in her skis and boots set-up and also in her attitude over the past weeks in order to get podiums in slalom again, which finally paid off.
“That second run was really fun, it was really one of my best runs I've had”, she told reporters at the press conference. “I didn't feel pressure going into the second run. My coaches told me the surface was great. My skis and boots are working great and I was ready for it.”
“Overall it's a great weekend with two podiums. I feel like I am getting my slalom back, so I'm really excited. However it's not necessary the best projector of what the next races will be. So I have to keep working,” she added.
Third after the first run, Sarka Strachova raced to her 10th career World Cup win. The last podium she earned was when she won a slalom race in Aspen in 2009.
“It's definitely a big day for me, the 29-year-old confessed. “It has been a really long wait. It means a lot for me. It proves I made the right decision to continue after the medical issues I encountered two years ago.”
The 2007 slalom World Cchampion, had to recover form a benign brain tumour that was removed from her brain in 2012.
21-year-old Wendy Holdener claimed her second career World Cup podium after a second place in Ofterschwang slalom in March 2013.
“Today's results take some pressure off my shoulders,” she commented. “It is such a good feeling when you try hard and it works out like it did today. I know I can still get more podiums now.”
In the slalom standings, Sweden's Frida Hansdotter, who finished fourth today, keeps the lead with 270 points, 21 more than Tina Maze who came sixth. Maria Pietilae-Holmner sits in third, 25 points behind while Mikaela Shiffrin, with today's win, is fourth ,51 points behind.
The World Cup tour will stop in Zagreb (CRO) next week for another exciting slalom race on 4 Janurary.
Here are the full results.