Vlhova Powers Past Shiffrin For City Event Win
Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova simple bashed her way to victory over Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) in Tuesday’s FIS Ski World Cup city event in Oslo, Norway.
In the big finals of the parallel slalom race, Vlhova used the two-handed cross-blocking technique to come away with her second victory in five days, defeating Shiffrin in both runs to deny the defending overall World Cup champion her third-straight city event victory. Shiffrin won the past two city events she participated in - Stockholm, Sweden, in 2017 and Oslo in 2018.
“Finally, I did it,” Vlhova said. “I beat Mikaela.”
Shiffrin, who entered the event as the top-ranked skier, advanced to the finals by defeating Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel in the opening round, then Canada’s Erin Mielzynski in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, she defeated Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener to advance into the big final against Vlhova.
The second-ranked Vlhova defeated Switzerland’s Aline Danioth in the opening round, Italy’s Irene Curtoni in the second round, and Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson in the semifinals to advance to the finals against Shiffrin.
"I have pretty mixed thoughts about today...I felt pretty off when the race started and in warm-up run we took," reflected Shiffrin after her race. "I barged in the start, and then preceded to barge about 50% of my runs in the race. My feeling in the first few runs was really strange...it wasn't quite 'on'. On one hand, I'm a little bit relieved, surprised, and pretty psyched to be on the podium, but by the time I got to the big final, I was feeling a lot more myself. I was still not timing my starts very well, but I was pushing on my skis the way I know that I can, so that was better. Petra skied disciplined, fast, and she skied smart. She took the risk in the first run when she needed to, and she was smart in the second run when she needed to be."
Vlhova, using her height to her advantage, and therefore the more aggressive double-blocking technique, opened a quarter-second advantage over Shiffrin in the first run. The technique allowed Vlhova to find valuable hundredths on the top and bottom of the course when it was straight and not turny. She applied the same technique in the second run to ski away with her sixth career World Cup win, and first city event victory. Holdener defeated Swenn Larsson in the small final for third.
Shiffrin also weighed in with thoughts about the cross-blocking technique Vlhova used, "I don't think that's why she won. I think it can be an advantage, and especially because she's tall, but that's not why she won. She won because she skied more disciplined and smarter on the two turns in the course where it counted the most. Sometimes you nail it and sometimes you don't. It's a learning experience either way."
In the men’s event, Austria’s Marco Schwarz defeated Great Britain’s Dave Ryding for the victory. In the small final, Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern defeated Sweden’s Andre Myhrer for third.
With the victory, Vlhova took back 20 points from Shiffrin’s overall World Cup lead. However, Shiffrin still holds a commanding lead with 1,114 points to Vlhova’s 668 points in second.
Up next, the World Cup continues in Zagreb, Croatia, as the men and women will compete in a pair of night slaloms Saturday and Sunday for the coveted “Snow Queen Trophy“ 2019.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, Jan. 5
7:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Zagreb, CRO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2 - Zagreb, CRO - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com& NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, Jan. 6
6:15 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 1 - Zagreb, CRO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. - Men’s slalom run 2 - Zagreb, CRO - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold