LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland – Mikaela Shiffrin ended her six-race profitable streak in World Cup slaloms Sunday when she surprised her rivals by snowboarding off beam with a lead of a full second in sight of the end.
Shiffrin misplaced rhythm and stability going right into a straight mixture with six gates left, handing victory to Petra Vlhova of Slovakia within the final slalom earlier than the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Initially listed as a “Did Not End” by race organizers, Shiffrin hiked again up the hill, paused and handed by means of the gate earlier than snowboarding slowly down.
The American star was given 27th place, nearly 14 seconds behind Vlhova, in her closing World Cup race earlier than going to South Korea for the Olympics. After Shiffrin began 2018 with 5 straight wins in World Cup occasions, her winless streak is now six.
Vlhova appeared shocked within the end space to have her first victory since November, when Shiffrin was runner-up at Levi, Finland, for her solely different loss this season.
Vlhova completed zero.10 seconds forward of Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, and zero.52 away from third-placed Wendy Holdener of Switzerland.
“I’m actually sorry for Mikaela,” mentioned Vlhova, who missed the rostrum within the 4 earlier World Cup slaloms. “I gained and I am actually glad as a result of I wanted this. I used to be in disaster slightly bit.”
Nonetheless, Shiffrin retained her large leads within the World Cup total and slalom standings. Holdener is second total and Vlhova second within the slalom standings.
It was the ultimate World Cup slalom earlier than the Feb. 14 medal race on the Pyeongchang Olympics the place Shiffrin will defend her title. She can be the reigning world champion and World Cup season-long champion within the self-discipline she dominates.
Shiffrin already deliberate to skip a World Cup parallel slalom occasion in Stockholm on Tuesday and two downhills subsequent weekend at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
It accomplished a troublesome weekend for Shiffrin at Lenzerheide the place she loved one in all her best profession days in 2013. Then, on the World Cup finals, a exceptional and quick second run ensured she edged Tina Maze for her first season-long slalom title at age 18.
On Saturday, Shiffrin positioned simply seventh in an enormous slalom that included an particularly steep and twisting begin to every run.
Shiffrin mentioned Sunday the day before today’s race left her “fairly heartbroken” to confront the boundaries of her technical abilities in big slalom.
“That is a tough factor to stare at straight within the face,” Shiffrin mentioned, talking after she took a transparent lead within the first slalom run. After one other cautious begin Sunday morning, she raced down the underside half to be zero.65 sooner than second-placed Holdener.
One other slalom win – a 34th in World Cups for the Olympic and three-time world champion – appeared assured till a uncommon mistake took Shiffrin off the rostrum for the primary time in additional than a yr.
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