Vlhova revels in winning at home

Petra Vlhova completed her goal in wanting to win a race at her home slope as she overhauled first run leader Mikaela Shiffrin to put her stamp on the event. Alice Robinson produced the form that she is capable of in taking second ahead of Shiffrin with the newly crowned World Cup Giant Slalom Champion, Marta Bassino taking fourth. Fifth place was taken by Ramona Siebenhofer who had an exceptional second run to lift herself up from 13th.

With so many connotations revolving around the race, it was no surprise that Lara Gut-Behrami, going one on the first run had a mistake that saw her lose almost one and three quarters of a second on Shiffrin's first run time. Needing to not lose too many places on Vlhova for the race for the Overall, Gut-Behrami was down in 14th after the first run with Vlhova in second.

The race for the Giant Slalom Globe was also nearing its completion and with Tessa Worley needing to out do Marta Bassino, the pressure told on Worley as she dropped into eighth after the first run with Bassino in fifth.

Ramona Siebenhofer produced a stunning second run to lift herself up the results page. More readily known as a speed racer, Siebenhofer has worked hard on her Giant Slalom this winter and has had the results to match. Second fastest on the second run, going just after Gut-Behrami was testament to her improved form in Giant Slalom.

Gut-Behrami was frustrated with her first run, especially as she is the World Champion and needed to pull back places to stop Vlhova making to much headway into her lead in the race for the Overall. With Gut-Behrami not heading to Are for the last two regular season races, this was as crucial a race as it gets for the Swiss racer. Her second run was much improved, she posted the fourth fastest time but she had too much of a mountain to climb in the grand scheme of things but still managed to pull herself back to ninth overall.

Alice Robinson, seventh after the first run produced another much improved run that saw her usurp Siebenhofer in the leaders seat. After the race Robinson posted on Instagram "finally second run today I got the feeling I’ve been looking for and got a 2nd place out of it.. better late then never!"

The determination and fight is something the nineteen year old has in abundance and when she is firing on all cylinders is a joy to watch.

With Federica Brignone and then Marta Bassino dropping in behind Robinson, the Kiwi superstar was assured of a place on the podium when first Nina O'Brien crashed out and then Maryna Gasienca-Daniel spectacularly capitulated in sight of the finish.

This left Vlhova and Shiffrin. In the slalom it had been Vlhova going last and she succumbed, now it was the other way around.

Course repairs after the Polish racer had crashed meant there was a delay and then Vlhova was out on course. Vlhova was not as fast as either Robinson or Siebenhofer but still good enough to go into the lead. Could she hold on an d take a double win in her home town slope or would Shiffrin ruin her weekend?

Just as Shiffrin was gearing up for her run, an inordinately long time was taken to repair a broken gate and Shiffrin admitted afterwards that this had upset her mental preparation and accused the local race organisers of being 'unprofessional' according to apnews.com.

Shiffrin continued that the delay had overshadowed the talent that Vlhova has, Shiffrin added "Petra deserved to win...she’s skiing amazing, so that’s a separate thing...but life isn’t fair and ski racing isn't always fair, but at least it can be professional.”

All in all, Shiffrin is happy with her skiing and the progression she has made this season, after having some difficulty in giant slalom prior to World Championships. “I felt pretty good with my skiing...it was really good conditions, and super fun to ski GS on that slope, so I was pretty happy about that,” she reflected. “It’s incredible at this time in the season and getting back on the podium in both slalom and giant slalom, after World Champs it was a really big push, and then we went back into training and came prepared for these races. It’s always really incredible when it works out to get not just one but two podiums and have some really good skiing to show.”

Shiffrin added on her Instagram account "I said it many times today after the race that I was disappointed and angry about the situation when I was in the start, but that is what it is and I just have to learn manage those situations better."

With Bassino putting Worley behind her, this confirmed her as the Giant Slalom Globe winner for the season and in taking 100 points, Vlhova has made big gains on Gut-Behrami. the lead is now cut to 36 points.

There was no Alex Tilley in the race as she has tested positive for Covid and this is effectively ending her season duet having to quarantine back at her base in Radstadt. Noel Baxter, her coach, explained that he was "very disappointed for Alex as that is pretty much her season over just when she seemed to turn her season around. She is not feeling too bad but definitely isn't able to exercise at the moment."

Full results

about author