Feb 22, 2015 5:49 AM

US teen Shiffrin holds big lead in WCup slalom after 1st run

The Associated Press

MARIBOR, Slovenia (AP) American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin defied drizzling rain to build a big lead in the opening run of a women's World Cup slalom on Sunday and close in on yet another record.

Shiffrin, who turns 20 next month, can earn her 12th career World Cup win in the discipline, beating the best mark for slalom wins by a teenager set by France's Perrine Pelen in the 1980s.

A week after retaining her world title, Shiffrin timed 48.58 seconds on the Pohorje course to lead second-place Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic by 0.68.

Erin Mielzynski of Canada was 0.81 back in third, while Sweden's Frida Hansdotter, who leads the discipline standings ahead of Shiffrin, had 0.92 to make up in the second run.

"I like skiing in the rain so that's OK," said Shiffrin, who started third before the rain got heavier. "For the girls coming down (later), it's a little bit rainy and it's harder to see and it's also a little bit rough. Some of them are doing a really good job and making me nervous."

Shiffrin was well ahead of the field from the first split and her pace remained unmatched.

"I don't think you can have a perfect run but it felt like my fastest skiing," Shiffrin said. "I felt very loose and I was charging the whole way."

Overall leader Tina Maze of Slovenia trailed by 0.95 in sixth. Her closest rival, Anna Fenninger, was skipping the race, a day after the Austrian won the giant slalom on the same course.

Shiffrin is chasing her third slalom win of the World Cup season. None of her rivals has won more than once.

The American is eager to win the crystal globe for the season's best slalom skier for a third time in a row. Shiffrin trailed Hansdotter by 41 points before Sunday's race but will overtake the Swede if she wins the race while Hansdotter doesn't make the podium.


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