17 year-old New Zealand sensation Alice Robinson stole the show at today’s Audi FIS World Cup 2019/20 opening race in Soelden as she edged defending Overall World Cup winner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) by 0.06 seconds to claim her first-ever World Cup win.
Robinson charmed the alpine world last year when at the Season Finals in Soldeu, she claimed a second-place finish, ironically behind Shiffrin. Robinson earned the last spot for the Finals' giant slalom as the Junior World Champion.
“You could see it already last year that she is going to be a really strong skier,” said a complimentary Shiffrin after the race. “I really like the way she skis and I think it’s exciting that she won today.”
Robinson picked up in Soelden right where she left off last year in Soldeu, skiing nearly flawlessly under perfect conditions and blue skies.
The Kiwi herself was clearly emotional after today’s win saying through tears, “It’s like a dream for me and I’m still in shock. To be honest I won by such a small margin against Mikaela, I still feel really lucky to stand here.”
Already in the first run Robinson was challenging Shiffrin. No one could come close to Shiffrin's time as most of the field was more than a second behind. Robinson was the only one who managed to stay within striking distance, ending only 0.14 behind Shiffrin after the first run.
Veteran World Cup star Tessa Worley (FRA) rounded out the podium taking third place 0.36 seconds off the pace thanks to strong second run that saw her improve three place to get on the podium.
It was nearly a dream start to the season for the women’s Audi FIS World Cup. The only dark spot came in the second run when Bernadette Shild (AUT) had to be airlifted off the course after a crash. The diagnosis revealed an ACL tear in her right knee, which means a premature season end for the tech specialist.
The action continues in Soelden tomorrow when the men get their first taste of the new season. The first run of the giant slalom is at 10:00 CET.