KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Defending overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin won a women’s World Cup giant slalom Saturday to stretch her winning streak for 2018 to three races.
The American is the first female skier with three straight wins at the start of a year since Vreni Schneider of Switzerland achieved the feat in 1989.
“I am just having a blast racing and I wanted to keep that momentum going,” said Shiffrin after her 39th career win, and sixth in GS.
Suffering from a cold, she lost more than half a second of a big first-run lead but still beat world GS champion Tessa Worley of France by 0.31 seconds.
Sofia Goggia of Italy was 0.91 behind in third, followed by three more racers all within one second of Shiffrin’s winning time. Goggia’s Italian teammate Federica Brignone was 0.98 behind in sixth after winning the previous GS, in Lienz eight days ago.
“It is super fun to ski, I am super psyched about it,” said Shiffrin, who now leads the overall as well as all discipline standings except for super-G.
The 2010 Olympic champion, Viktoria Rebensburg, topped the GS standings going into the race but the German finished nearly two seconds off the lead in 11th.
The U.S. ski team said Shiffrin had been “battling a cold this week” but travelled across the Italian border on Friday to train in Tarvisio.
“A lot of the girls have been sick so I didn’t feel like it was an excuse for today. I wanted to come down and charge,” said Shiffrin, who has won six of the last seven World Cup events.
Wearing bib 7, Shiffrin avoided mistakes in an aggressive opening run to build a 0.86-second lead over Worley. She was a bit more conservative in her final run but her lead was never under threat.
“It’s not a very long course so even being a little bit sick I have enough energy for that,” she said after the opening leg. “I am really happy with my skiing. I was loose and really aggressive. That’s really exciting for me. I just tried to go out aggressive and it worked that run.”
On a course that held up well despite mild temperatures and rain in the last few days, Estelle Alphand posted the fastest second-run time to finish 10th overall for her best career GS result. Alphand is a daughter of French former World Cup skier Luc Alphand but she is starting for Sweden.
Coming back from knee surgery this season, two-time overall champion Anna Veith of Austria finished 32nd in the first run and failed to qualify for the final leg.
A slalom on the same course is set for Sunday. This weekend’s races have been moved from Maribor because of a lack of snow and warm weather in the North-Eastern Slovenian resort.