BRATISLAVA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Despite finishing second at the FIS Slalom World Cup in Schladming, Austria, a significant lead in the standings was enough for Petra Vlhova of Slovakia to win the Small Crystal Globe in this discipline with two races still to go.
Vlhova finished the evening race 0.15 seconds behind the winner Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States, while German skier Lena Duerr finished third, 0.93s adrift.
The overall World Cup champion Vlhova won five races and finished second twice in seven races this season, taking her second career Crystal Globe after 2020.
The race was orginally scheduled for Austrian resort of Flachau, but was moved to Schladming due to COVID-19. Vlhova was the first to race down the famous track Planai known for hosting men's slalom races, and set a superb time under artificial lighting which no other contestant was able to beat in the first run, excelling especially in the lower section of the course.
Shiffrin was trailing by 0.42s after the first run and had to ski on her limit to make up for it in her second run, sacrificing smoothness for aggressiveness and finishing with a huge lead, at the end, which Vlhova was not able to top as she made a mistake in her second run. Lucky for her, several top-tier racers did not finish their respective runs and the Slovakian was able to take the desired podium.
"I have mixed feelings about this. It's great to win the Small Globe in the middle of January, but I wanted to win the race today," said the 26-year-old. "At first, I didn't think about the globe after crossing the finish line as I was not satisfied with my second run, but then my team came rushing towards me and told me to celebrate as I had just won the globe."
She also praised her greatest rival. "I have been fighting against Mikaela my whole career. We push each other all the time. I am glad to be able to ski in the Shiffrin era. She has broken many records. It is a great showdown between us, good for the spectators and Alpine skiing as a whole."
The three-time overall World Cup winner Shiffrin leads the current overall rankings with 17 races left in this season's schedule, 55 points ahead of Vlhova, who was concentrating predominantly on the slalom title.
World Cup slalom race in Schladming
1: Mikaela Shiffrin - 1:32.66 min
2: Petra Vlhova (Slovakia) +0.15 s
3: Lena Duerr (Germany) +0.93 s
Slalom standings after 7 of 9 races
1: P. Vlhova 660 points
2: M. Shiffrin 440 points
3: W. Holdener 321 points
World Cup standings after 20 of 37 races
1: M. Shiffrin 966 points
2: P. Vlhova 911 points
3: Sofia Goggia 657 points