Slovakian skier Vlhova leads Shiffrin in 1st run of slalom

Petra Vlhova edged Mikaela Shiffrin again in the first run of a women’s World Cup slalom

LEVI, Finland — Petra Vlhova edged Mikaela Shiffrin again in the first run of a women’s World Cup slalom Sunday, a day after the Slovakian skier won both runs in the season-opening slalom.

Vlhova was .18 of a second faster than Shiffrin on a course set by one of the American’s coaches, Jeff Lackie.

Shiffrin is aiming for her 71st career win and 46th in slalom, which would see her match a 32-year-old record for most World Cup wins in a single discipline, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in giant slalom.

Michelle Gisin of Switzerland and Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden trailed by .36 and .37, respectively, while the rest of the field had to make up at least half a second on Vlhova in the final run. Germany’s Lena Dürr, who was third Saturday, finished .66 behind in sixth.

Slalom World Cup and world champion Katharina Liensberger of Austria was 0.94 back in 10th.

Only .01 ahead at the second check point, Vlhova gained more time on Shiffrin with a smooth transition from the flat into the steep middle section.

“On the flat part I felt not so good because today is harder and the snow surface is more aggressive, so I went really full gas in the steep part,” Vlhova said.

The defending overall World Cup champion from Slovakia defeated Shiffrin by .31 on Saturday.

“It’s a new day, new race, so I try to stay focused on today, not thinking about yesterday,” Vlhova said.

Vlhova and Shiffrin have each won the race in Finnish Lapland four times, and no other skier has won it since Tina Maze triumphed in 2014.

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