Sara Hector Wins In Kranjska Gora

Conditions on the Podkoren course were rough—a venue generally used for men’s World Cups—with the course workers battling heavy snowfall earlier in the week. But Sara Hector of Sweden made it look easy, winning both runs by a total of .96 seconds over Frenchwoman Tessa Worley. It was Hector’s third career win and her second victory in the last 10 days. Marta Bassino of Italy was third with Canadian Valérie Grenier surprising everyone, skiing from bib 25 to fourth place. 

At the end of the first run of the first run, there were only six skiers who were under a second behind leading Hector;Tessa Worley and Marta Bassino were closest.

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and Petra Vlhova (SVK) finished in the back, while Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI) came back after a long break due to the covid and recovered in the second run with an excellent race up to fifth position.

When it was time for the top three, Marta Bassino was first out. The Italian had 23 hundredths up to Hector, managed to keep her lead against the then leading Canadian Valerie Grenier and thus secured a podium place. Tessa Worley had the chance to take her 16th victory in the giant slalom world cup and she kept the lead against Bassino when she went in 36 hundredths before the Italian.

Hector, who has three podium places to build on from this season, had the chance to take over the lead in the giant slalom cup if she could keep her lead. She did so and extended it throughout the run before entering the finish line, 96 percent ahead of Worley. She thus took her third World Cup victory.

"I was very nervous before but it just went so very well, in the second run I felt that I had a good flow but did not know if it went fast or not, It feels completely sick that I lead the giant slalom cup" said Hector. Sara Hector thus leads the giant slalom cup ahead of the American Mikaela Shiffrin after her victory.

With a strong second run, Mikaela Shiffrin took seventh place in the FIS World Cup giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

Shiffrin had crushed the two giant slaloms in Courchevel, France just before the holiday break, finishing first and second, but after contracting COVID and quarantining, she was open about feeling off her game after not training. She finished 14th first run and while she put down a much faster second run to move up to seventh place, she knows she has a long way to go.

“Four runs on my GS skis yesterday was not enough to hope or even wish that I could compete with the top women today, who showed very strong and very brave skiing,” said Shiffrin. “Still, I am disappointed to feel today that I was so far away from GS skiing that was just right there not too long ago. I’ll work to get that feeling back but for now, the job is to reset and recover the best I can for tomorrow’s slalom.”

However, the ever-positive Shiffrin looked on the bright side. “It’s really good to be back racing and I’ll take that over watching from my bed in quarantine any day,” said Shiffrin. “Big congrats to the podium, especially Sara Hector. That was incredibly strong skiing.”

With Hector’s win, she leap-frogged over Shiffrin to take the lead in the giant slalom standings. Shiffrin still maintains the lead in the overall World Cup standings, 135 points more than Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, who also had a challenging day, finishing 15th in Kranjska Gora. Sofia Goggia of Italy, who did not qualify for a second run, remains in third place.

Paula Moltzan was 22nd after first run, but crashed hard in second run and did not finish. She is OK. Nicola Rountree-Williams, who was starting in her career-first FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom, did not finish first run and Nina O’Brien did not qualify for second run.

The German ski racer Paulina Schlosser was seriously injured. The 20-year-old  fell in the first run of her second World Cup race. Just a few days ago she made her debut at the slalom in Zagreb. After just a few gates , the 20-year-old slipped away with her skis and flung across the piste. Her right leg twisted in the process. Schlosser had to be treated on the slopes for more than 20 minutes before she could be transported away with the rescue sledge. "Right lower leg fracture" was the bitter diagnosis of the German Ski Association after the race.

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