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Shiffrin breaks slalom record with victory in Finland after Vlhova crashes

Shiffrin breaks slalom record with victory in Finland after Vlhova crashes

23/11/2019 at 13:30Updated 23/11/2019 at 15:47

Defending slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin opened the season with a victory in Levi that saw her break the record number of wins.

Shiffrin came into the second run behind Slovakia's Petra Vlhova.

The only woman to beat the American last season put in a strong opening run and heaped the pressure on Shiffrin, who looked in control but not at her quickest during her first go.

However, in the second run Shiffrin came out of the gates flying, and recovered superbly from a tough middle section to end strongly and finish with a time of 58.79.

Video - WATCH: Shiffrin's run that broke the record - 'That's why she's world champion!'

01:39

Vlhova was still to come but she pushed too hard, crashing out and giving Shiffrin victory.

Video - Vlhova crashes out in second run

01:24

It is Shiffrin's 41st World Cup slalom win, moving one ahead of Ingemar Stenmark's tally of 40, putting her as the greatest slalom skier of all-time.

"I wasn't thinking about that at all today," Shiffrin said after the race. "Nobody asked too so that was pretty nice,

"I was just trying to push Petra, she's skiing really well I know she had a really tough start to the start of the season with the sickness, so coming out here and being so strong was super impressive,

"She showed great strength not only physically but mentally too. I feel a little bit lucky with this win, but I also feel good with my skiing so I'm happy."

Video - Shiffrin heaps praise on Vlhova for pushing hard

01:03

It's also Shiffrin's fourth win at Levi, more than any other skier, which means a fourth reindeer, which she has yet to name.

With Vlhova not finishing, second place went to Wendy Holdener, who put in the second-best time of the second run, clocking at 59.15. She needed it as well after a couple of sloppy mistakes in her opening had left her off the pace.

OUR VIEW

The numbers now confirm what we already knew, Mikaela Shiffrin is the greatest slalom skier of all time.

From an early stage of her career it was always going to be a question of 'when', not 'if', she would break Stenmark's record.

Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on November 23, 2019

Mikaela Shiffrin of USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on November 23, 2019Getty Images

The fact that she has done this at 24 is nothing short of frightening and the sky is truly the limit for this astonishing skier.

By her own admission Shiffrin had a bit of luck with Vlhova crashing out, but despite that, and Alice Robinson's victory in the Giant Slalom a few weeks ago, the American remains the woman to beat.

RUN 1 REPORT

Petra Vlhova leads Mikaela Shiffrin after the first run of the slalom in Levi on Saturday.

Defending champion Shiffrin was first out of the gate and glided down the course, set by her coach Jeff Lackie, setting the pace with a time of 58.78.

The two to follow Shiffrin were Wendy Holdener and Katharina Liensberger, but a couple of mistakes saw them both finish a way off the American.

It was left to Vlhova, the only woman to beat Shiffrin in the slalom last season, to pick up the challenge and she put in a brilliant run, clocking in at 58.65.

Video - Vlhova's first run sees her lead Shiffrin

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Austria's Katharina Truppe was the only other skier to get to below a minute off Vlhova; she clocked a time of 0.99.

Norway's Nina Haver-Loseth, back on skis after a tibial fracture and meniscus in her right knee in December last year, is in fifth.

Unfortunately, Great Britian's Charlie Guest was a DNF and will not be back for the second run.