Mikaela Shiffrin claims victory in Levi slalom

Double Olympic champion registers first win of the new season in Finland to close in on all-time World Cup slalom record.

Mikaela Shiffrin showed she's in no mood to give up her status as the world's top technical female skier with a convincing slalom victory in Levi, Finland.

The double Olympic gold medallist and two-time defending World Cup overall champion won by 0.58 seconds from Slovakia's Petra Vlhova.

Bernadette Schild of Austria moved up from 12th place after the first run to take the final spot on the podium.

Magic Mikaela

After her third place in the opening giant slalom of the season in Soelden last month, Shiffrin was keen to return to winning ways.

She was the first skier to go and clocked 45.06 seconds which no one else was able to match.

Mikaela Shiffrin on her way to victory in the ladies' slalom at Levi, Finland
Mikaela Shiffrin on her way to victory in the ladies' slalom at Levi, FinlandMikaela Shiffrin on her way to victory in the ladies' slalom at Levi, Finland

Sweden's slalom gold medallist from PyeongChang, Frida Hansdotter was 0.14 behind with Vlhova a further 0.45 back.

Several skiers struggled on the second run which took place under the floodlights on a very icy surface.

One who did not was Schild who went down in a blistering 46.91 seconds to take the lead.

Eight women followed her without beating her aggregate time before Vlhova moved above her.

But Hansdotter then had a poor ski, 1.31 seconds slower than Schild's second run, to slip to third place with just Shiffrin remaining.

Levi slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Petra Vlhova, winner Mikaela Shiffrin, third-placed Bernadette Schild
Levi slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Petra Vlhova, winner Mikaela Shiffrin, third-placed Bernadette SchildLevi slalom podium (L-R): runner-up Petra Vlhova, winner Mikaela Shiffrin, third-placed Bernadette Schild

The American led Vlhova by 0.59 seconds after the first run and she gave up just one-hundredth to clinch her 33rd World Cup slalom victory, just two behind the all-time record held by Austrian Marlies Raich (formerly Schild and sister of Bernadette).

Shiffrin, who now has 44 World Cup wins in total, is clearly the woman to beat again this season.

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