LIENZ, Austria (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin had an eventful return from her 11-day break from World Cup racing on Saturday, nearly arriving too late for the start of a giant slalom before dominating the opening run.
Having misread the local start time of 10:15 a.m., the American three-time overall champion was preparing for a 10:30 start.
Shiffrin had to interrupt her usual warmup routines to make it to the start gate in time but made no mistake once on the course.
Racing under clear blue skies, Shiffrin timed 1 minute, 1.27 seconds on the Schlossberg course, leading Italian rivals Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone by 0.61 and 0.74 seconds, respectively.
The rest of the field, led by Tessa Worley of France in fourth, had more than 1.3 seconds to make up in the second run.
Shiffrin opted out of the Val d’Isere races last weekend after finishing a disappointing 17th in a mid-week GS in another French resort, Courchevel.
The events in Val d’Isere were then canceled because of bad weather.
Shiffrin trained a few days in Courchevel, took three days off, and had a four-day training camp in Italy to get ready for the final races of the calendar year.
Her preparations paid off, as she had an attacking but near-flawless first run.
Shiffrin came wide on a sharp right turn which caused many racers problems, but she got back to the ideal race line without braking.
After finishing, Shiffrin briefly looked up to the large video wall displaying the run times, then crossed her arms and crouched down for a few seconds.
A victory would raise Shiffrin’s career tally to 63 World Cup wins, moving her into outright second place on the women’s winners list. Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell won 62 times in the 1970s and 80s.
Lindsey Vonn holds the women’s record of 82 wins.
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