BRATISLAVA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Reigning champion Petra Vlhova is almost perfect in the FIS World Cup slalom series this season as the Slovak Alpine skier won the fifth out of six fixtures so far, triumphing in the Slovenian resort of Kranjska Gora on Sunday.
Vlhova was 0.23 seconds ahead of Sweden's Anna Swenn-Larsson, and Switzerland's Wendy Holdener finished third with 1.06 seconds more on the clock. Vlhova's greatest slalom rival and the only other slalom winner this season (in November 2021 in Killington) Mikaela Shiffrin did not finish her second run.
26-year-old Vlhova's 25th career victory in the FIS World Cup did not come about easily. Initially, the race was to be held near Maribor but had to be relocated to Kranjska Gora due to high temperatures. But the conditions were not ideal here either, and after Saturday's Giant Slalom, the surface of the track was not up to standard.
"The track is horrible. I don't know what the organizers have been doing all night or the three days that we have been here. This surface is not worthy of a World Cup race. It's very damaged," complained Vlhova and several other Alpine skiers after the first run.
The layout of the gates for the first run was designed by Vlhova's Italian coach Mauro Pini, but it was Holdener who set the best time and the Slovakian came in second with 0.08 seconds more on the clock.
Vlhova did not have a great start into the second run but her physical abilities allowed her to cope with the bumpy snow, especially in the section where the gates were closest together, and took a comfortable lead that resulted in her victory.
"Once again, it was a tough battle with the conditions but I'm glad to be back on the podium after yesterday's 15th place in the giant slalom race. My second run was perfect, it makes me very happy," said Vlhova after crossing the finish line.
Vlhova leads the slalom rankings with 580 points and is very close to defending her title, Shiffrin trails by 240 points with only three more slalom races left in the calendar. Vlhova's 52nd career podium moved her closer to Shiffrin in the overall rankings, trailing by only 35 points now with 18 races left.