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Mikaela Shiffrin wins record 83rd World Cup race
The USA's Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after winning her 83rd World Cup race on Tuesday in Kronplatz, Italy (Agence Zoom)

After tying the women's World Cup victories record on 8 January, Mikaela Shiffrin said she hoped she could ski a giant slalom race that well again someday.

It only took 16 days for the American star to repeat that masterful performance, and she now stands alone as the most successful women's World Cup Alpine ski racer of all time.

Shiffrin dominated the Kronplatz giant slalom in the Italian Dolomites on Tuesday, triumphing by 0.45 seconds to surpass compatriot Lindsey Vonn and become the first woman to win 83 World Cup races.

The 27-year-old almost didn't know how to react after crossing the line, standing motionless in the finish area before finally looking towards the crowd and pumping her fist.

"It might take me a little bit to figure out what to say," Shiffrin said in her first interview moments after breaking the record. "I don't know what to say right now."

In finishing ahead of Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami and Italy's Federica Brignone, Shiffrin broke the record on her fifth attempt and her first in giant slalom after near misses over the last two weeks in slalom (2nd), downhill (4th and 7th) and super-G (7th).

While 51 of Shiffrin's victories have come in slalom, a record for any Alpine skier in any discipline, she has also won 18 World Cup races in giant slalom, two short of the women's record of 20 held by Switzerland's Vreni Schneider.

That's another record that may soon belong to Shiffrin, who was the fastest in both runs on Tuesday and has now won four of the last five giant slalom races on the tour.

Shiffrin on her way to making history (Agence Zoom)

On a first-run course set by her coach Mike Day, Shiffrin skied almost flawlessly to lead by 0.13 seconds over Gut-Behrami, with Brignone a further 0.14 seconds behind and no one else within three-quarters of a second of Shiffrin's time.

That set up a three-way battle between three of the most accomplished ski racers of their generation, and Gut-Behrami threw down the gauntlet with a spectacular second run to take the lead over Brignone by nearly a second, with only Shiffrin left to ski.

"I saw her (Gut-Behrami) from the start and then I was thinking, 'Why did I watch? I can't go that fast,'" Shiffrin said.

But Shiffrin was up to the task, maintaining her first-run advantage through the steep middle section before increasing it as she powered across the finish line.

"I was a bit nervous for the second run, but mostly I hate waiting, and finally when it was time to go, then everything went quiet and I just pushed as hard as I could every turn," she said.

"I was a little bit wild in some spots but it felt so clean. I thought I wouldn't be faster (than Gut-Behrami) but I thought I could maybe be close and then somehow I got to the finish."

Gut-Behrami congratulating Shiffrin in the finish area (Agence Zoom)

Gut-Behrami, who was seeking her 37th World Cup win and wound up on her 71st podium, was the first to congratulate Shiffrin in the finish area.

"It's unbelievable what she's doing, she's an amazing athlete," Gut-Behrami said.

With the women's record now in hand, Shiffrin is only three victories away from tying the record for any skier of 86 World Cup wins, held by legendary Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

And if Shiffrin maintains her current torrid pace, that record will fall sooner rather than later.

 
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