Alpine Skiing

Joint Sestriere winners Federica Brignone and Petra Vlhova beat Mikaela Shiffrin by just 0.01 seconds 

Double Olympic champion retains lead in overall World Cup standing after losing to Federica Brignone and Petra Vlhova by the smallest of margins

By Sven Busch ·

Italy's Federica Brignone and Petra Vlhova (Slovakia) shared victory in the World Cup giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy.

Both recorded the exact same combined time of 2:21.15 from the two runs at the 2006 Olympic venue.

Double Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) finished just 0.01 seconds behind in third place.

The win helped local favourite Brignone increase her lead in the giant slalom standings to 61 points over defending champion Shiffrin. There are three out of nine scheduled races left.

"It felt like having a heart attack," said PyeongChang GS bronze medallist Brignone after her 13th career World Cup win. "The race was right on the razor's edge."

Shiffrin who is on the hunt for a fourth straight big crystal globe, remains on top of the overall World Cup standings with a 233-point advantage on Vlhova.

"I've been on the good side of the hundredths very often. It happens sometimes like that, too," Shiffrin said.

A close affair in perfect conditions

Overnight snow and sunny skies made for perfect conditions in the Italian Alps.

Brignone led after the first run, having clocked 1:10.28 on home snow. World giant slalom champion Vlhova, coming fresh of back-to-back-wins on the circuit, was 0.17 seconds behind in second with Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg 0.36 back in third.

Shiffrin was in striking distance in fourth place, trailing Brignone by 0.42 seconds in this high-altitude race with the start located at 2400m.

The U.S. superstar managed the fastest time in the second run but in the end she was 0.01 seconds shy of a three-way tie for the win.

"I was really happy with my skiing today. I was pushing a lot more in my second run and I felt my timing was a lot better," resumed Shiffrin, who has now uncharacteristically competed in four straight races without a victory.

A challenging schedule

There is little time to rest for the skiers as three straight weekends of speed races await them. As of now Shiffrin seems to have firmly committed only to the races in Bansko, Bulgaria, next weekend.

She claims "a new season" will start in mid-February when the technical events resume.

"I was skiing at 100 percent of my ability (in recent races), knowing that my ability was maybe not as high as it has been when I've come off a really good training session or a block of rest," Shiffrin said to

"I feel like I'm going to be able to raise my level of skiing again, but it's just going to take a little bit of time."