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Shiffrin takes lead after World Cup giant slalom win

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Mikaela Shiffrin of the US competes in the first run of the women’s FIS Ski World Cup Giant Slalom event on Tuesday. AFP

Shiffrin takes lead after World Cup giant slalom win

Mikaela Shiffrin won Tuesday’s giant slalom in Courchevel, France, to take the overall World Cup lead from Italian Sofia Goggia.

After taking her career World Cup win haul to 72 the American then warned: “We’re just starting.”

Shiffrin, who led by almost three-quarters of a second after the first run, was able to ski conservatively as she closed the second run, finishing with a combined time of 2 min 15.35 sec to finish 0.86sec ahead of Swede Sara Hector.

Swiss Michelle Gisin, who was second after the first run, finished third at 1.08sec.

Austria’s double world ski champion Katharina Liensberger and Swiss star Lara Gut-Behrami both missed the race after being sidelined by positive coronavirus tests.

Shiffrin collected the 72nd victory of her career and her third of the season, after the giant slalom in Soelden and the slalom in Killington in the US.

The American now leads the overall World Cup standings, 35 points ahead of Goggia, who started the day in front after five wins in her last seven races but skied out on the second run.

Shiffrin leads Petra Vlohva, who was fourth, by 90 points in the giant slalom standings.

Shiffrin’s victory at Courchevel last year was her first after the death of her father.

“Today was really quite a difficult day,” she said at the finish.

For Shiffrin, who is skiing in the speed disciplines as well as the slaloms this season, it was a 14th race in just over a month.

“After the last weeks, pushing the schedule hard, it’s been a lot just to get here. I’m not full tank just now,” she said, adding: “We’re just starting.”

“I felt like [I] skied some of my best skiing and some of my toughest skiing today and that’s really incredible.”

For both Gisin, who wept as she crossed the line, and Hector it was a first podium place of the season.

“I think it’s more emotional for Sara and also especially for Michele,” said Shiffrin. “It’s really impressive to see both of them skiing like that.”

“It wasn’t easy for anybody but good day, tough day. Good kind of challenge. Really happy,” she concluded.

Gisin is gradually getting back to form after her pre-season training schedule was disrupted by illness.

“It’s amazing because I hardly did any training this year, I was in the deepest hole in the world,” said Gisin.

“It’s good to have the energy back, to feel like myself again, and that I was able to ski like this today,” she said.

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