SEMMERING, Austria (AP) — Petra Vlhova posted the fastest time in the opening run of a women’s World Cup giant slalom on the Zauberberg course Monday, two years after she won her first race in the discipline on the same hill.
The GS world champion from Slovakia finished her clean run in 1 minute, 2.15 seconds to lead Marta Bassino by 0.22.
The Italian won the first two giant slaloms of the season, but both she and Vlhova failed to finish the previous race in France two weeks ago.
Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin was 0.35 behind in third, followed by Mikaela Shiffrin, who had 0.59 to make up in the second leg.
The American three-time overall champion triumphed in the previous GS for her first win since returning to the circuit from a 10-month break.
Vlhova said she “couldn’t expect in the finish that I was in green, because my feelings were not so perfect.”
Vlhova, who leads the overall standings by 138 points ahead of Gisin, carved out her advantage in the final part of her run.
“I took a lot of advantage from others because I tried let my skis go in the last five gates,” she said.
Vlhova won the the GS on the Zauberberg in 2018 for the first of her four World Cup wins in the discipline.
Shiffrin won two giant slaloms in two days on this hill in 2016 before adding a slalom victory the next day.
Defending overall World Cup champion Federica Brignone, who leads the GS standings by five points ahead of her Italian teammate Bassino, was 1.71 behind in eighth.
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