January 15, 2019 / 8:46 PM / 3 months ago

Alpine Skiing: Perfect Shiffrin continues assault on skiing records

FILE PHOTO: Alpine Skiing - Alpine Skiing World Cup - Women's Slalom - Flachau, Austria - January 8, 2019 Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

(Reuters) - Mikaela Shiffrin continued her relentless march towards a third straight overall World Cup title with a giant slalom victory on Tuesday that the dominant American felt was just perfect at the Italian resort of Kronplatz.

The 23-year-old moved a practically insurmountable 496 points clear of nearest rival, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, with her 10th win of the season — and the bad news for her distant pursuers is that she may be discovering new peaks of excellence.

“The first run was maybe my best run in GS in a race that I ever did,” Shiffrin told reporters after taking a 1.39 seconds lead over the field with her opening salvo.

“I tried to ski another run like I did in the first and maybe in some terms better. Both runs the whole day it was really perfect.”

She eventually won by the vast margin of 1.21 seconds, ahead of France’s Tessa Worley, while Italy’s Marta Bassino finished third.

It was an even more satisfying win for the double Olympic champion as she had previously struggled at Kronplatz, even falling there last year.

Shiffrin’s victory means she now leads the World Cup standings in giant slalom, slalom and Super G.

It also took her a step closer to matching Swiss skier Vreni Schneider’s 30-year-old record of 14 wins in a single season, a landmark that now really looks under threat from the American.

World Cup win number 53 of her career also suggested that, after a stellar 2018 when Shiffrin won a record 15 races in a calendar year, she may be peaking perfectly for another major medal assault at February’s world championships in Are, Sweden.

Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris

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