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Vlhova keeps Shiffrin in check – Holdener fourth, Gisin with “big step forward”

1. Petra Vlhova (SVK) 1:51.95
2. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) +0,43
3. Lena Durr (GER) +0.85
4. Wendy Holdener (SUI) +1,54

13. Aline Danioth (SUI) +3,63
14. Michelle Gisin (SUI) +3.69
15. Elena Stoffel (SUI) +3.72
19. Camille Rast (SUI) +4.09

Out: Sara Hector (SWE), Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE), Zrinka Ljutic (CRO).

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin, left, congratulates winner Slovakia's Petra Vlhova during the podium ceremony for an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom in Flachau, Austria, Tuesday, Jan.10, 2023. S ...

The winner accepts the congratulations of the second: Petra Vlhova (right) with Mikaela Shiffrin.Bild: keystone

Petra Vlhova wins for the first time in this World Cup season. In the night slalom in Flachau, the Slovak won the duel against the American Mikaela Shiffrin. Wendy Holdener is 4th.

From the start of this season she was among the best in the technical disciplines. Only: Petra Vlhova was not the very best this winter. Four podium places in slalom, three in giant slalom – victory was still missing.

In Flachau, where she had won four and three years ago, it finally worked out with her first full success in a World Cup slalom as an Olympic champion. Under spotlights, Vlhova returned to the limelight. After the triumph in Yanqing at the games in Beijing, she also remained without a win three times in the final phase of last winter in the pole forest.

Vlhova’s victory ride.Video: SRF

Nine World Cup slaloms in a row without first place – that had only happened to the Slovak once before, since her rise to the top ranks in this division. In the 2016/17 season she had to wait until the ninth and last slalom, the final in Aspen, Colorado.

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“I’m very happy to finally win again. I had to wait a long time.”

Peter Vlhova.

The void after the Olympic gold

The Olympic Games last February were not only for Vlhova’s last slalom victory until Tuesday evening. They were also at the origin of a difficult phase. Vlhova fell into a mental hole. She struggled with motivational issues. After winning the most important gold medal, with which she completed her palmares after winning the overall World Cup in the previous winter and the world title in giant slalom four years ago, the great emptiness followed. She had achieved all the goals she had dreamed of since she was a small child. Vlhova lacked the sporting perspectives. She began to consider retiring.

Vlhova decided differently, to remain in top-class sport. It remains to be seen how much her coach Mauro Pini was able to control her decision to continue. In any case, the influence of the Ticino on his athlete is visible and noticeable. Since the beginning of the collaboration with Pini, who succeeded Livio Magoni for the season before last, Vlhova has (also) changed as a person. Under the dictates of the Italian, who was notorious for being a tough dog, there were only two perspectives, one on training and one on competition.

Vlhova (front center) next to coach Mauro Pini.

With Pini at her side, Vlhova’s focus on her career as a ski racer crumbled. She began to appreciate values ​​outside of competition. She shed her doggedness, she seems more approachable, warmer, more emotional. The balancing act between a life on and off the slopes is good for her. “It’s a question of balance,” said Vlhova before the start of the season. “I’ve managed that very well so far.”

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Vlhova also managed her two runs in Flachau very well. Her World Cup victory number 27 was 43 hundredths ahead of Shiffrin, who missed the first opportunity to become the sole record winner on the women’s side.

epa10398815 Winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia celebrates on the podium after the Women's Slalom night race at the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup in Flachau, Austria, 10 January 2023. EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Vlhova with the winner’s trophy.Bild: keystone

Holdener seven tenths away from the podium

Holdener only narrowly missed another podium place this winter, her fourth in the slalom. Position 3, which the German Lena Dürr secured, was missing from Schwyz (“For the last cheek, I’m a little lacking in training at the moment”) in the final count by around seven tenths.

Wendy Holdener says:

«I’m satisfied with the second run, in which I rode a bit more boldly than in the first, but I still took a little too much out of the waves. Also because some drivers before me had problems there.
I’m not close to the podium, so it’s just a 4th place. It would have annoyed me more if I had been closer.”

The 2nd run by Wendy Holdener.Video: SRF

Four other Swiss women scored World Cup points. Everyone made up ground in the second run. Aline Danioth, who made the biggest leap forward by climbing 15 positions, finished 13th. Michelle Gisin and Elena Stoffel were right behind them. Camille Rast followed in 19th place. Mélanie Meillard, the sixth Swiss-Ski finalist, was eliminated.

“It’s an extremely big step forward. It was good to finally be able to ski well again.”

Michelle Gisin

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin reacts after completing during an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom in Flachau, Austria, Tuesday, Jan.10, 2023. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Showed a good 2nd run: Michelle Gisin.Bild: keystone

(ni/sda)

Most wins in the Ski World Cup

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Most wins in the Ski World Cup

quelle: epa scanpix / cornelius poppe

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