LIENZ, AUSTRIA – Frida Hansdotter held on to her first-run lead to win a women’s World Cup slalom on Tuesday, making her the main candidate to take over the discipline title from the injured Mikaela Shiffrin.
The Swede’s third career win helped extend her lead in the discipline standings to 100 points over Petra Vlhova of Slovakia. She is the only skier to reach the podium in all four slaloms this season.
Hansdotter finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 47.02 seconds on the Schlossberg course to edge Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.07. Vlhova, who won the previous slalom in Are, Sweden, two weeks ago, posted the fastest second-run time and finished 0.43 behind in third.
Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria, who was 0.39 back in third after the opening leg, failed to finish her final run.
“It was a really nice race today,” Hansdotter said. “I had a solid first run but I felt I had more to give.”
Carrying a slim 0.11-second lead into her second run, Hansdotter avoided mistakes and lost just four-hundredths of her advantage, denying Holdener the first World Cup slalom victory by a Swiss female skier in 13 years.
“It was amazing,” said Hansdotter, who raised both arms in celebration after crossing the finish line. “I knew it was close. In the upper part I had the feeling it was good but on the steep part I struggled a bit.”
Although it was only her third win and first of the season, the slalom specialist is one of the most consistent performers on the circuit with 19 podium finishes. She has runnerup finishes in 14 slalom races, a women’s World Cup record she shares with Swedish great Pernilla Wiberg.
Seven times Hansdotter finished second to Shiffrin, who also beat the Swede to retain her world title last February.
The Olympic champion from the United States, who won the World Cup slalom title the past three years and also took the first two races this season, is out for an indefinite period after hurting her right knee in a warmup crash before the Dec. 12 giant slalom in Are.
The women’s World Cup continues with another slalom in Santa Caterina, Italy, next Tuesday. That race has been moved from Zagreb because of a lack of snow in the Croatian resort.
Theaux wins downhill
Santa Caterina Valfurva, Italy — Adrien Theaux won a wild World Cup downhill by a large margin Tuesday, while Christof Innerhofer grabbed most of the attention by finishing fourth after skiing halfway down the course with a gate attached to him.
Theaux won in 1 minute, 47.29 seconds on the dark and steep Deborah Compagnoni course to finish with a 1.04-second advantage over Hannes Reichelt of Austria. It was the Frenchman’s third career win.
David Poisson of France came third, 1.15 behind.
Innerhofer missed the podium by just 0.07. About a minute into his run, the Italian got his left arm wrapped around a gate and the bright fluorescent orange panel and long pole caught onto his equipment.