MILAN: World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin will be looking to bounce back into winning mode ahead of the Winter Olympics in Tuesday’s giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy.
Shiffrin has dominated the start of the season with ten World Cup wins but had mixed fortunes in nearby Cortina d’Ampezzo over the weekend despite a promising third place in Friday’s downhill.The slalom specialist finished seventh in the second downhill on Saturday in the Italian Dolomites and failed to finish Sunday’s Super-G.But she is confident of laying the groundwork ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, starting on February 9, on the challenging Erta slope.
“Kronplatz is one of the more technical tracks on the circuit and reminds me of Squaw Valley. A ton of terrain and really fun to ski,” said the American, the holder of six giant slalom wins on the World Cup circuit including Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and Courchevel, France this season.
Shiffrin has a 876-point lead over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein in the overall standings but knows she will have competition with “a lot of girls skiing really fast in the giant slalom now”.The 22-year-old from Colorado leads the giant slalom standings by 55 points from France’s Tessa Worley with Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg third a further eight points adrift.
Rebensburg — the Vancouver Olympic giant slalom winner — returns after a two-week flu absence which saw her miss Bad Kleinkirchheim in Austria and Cortina.Worley, a two-time world giant slalom champion, finished second behind Shiffrin in Slovenia and is looking for her first win of the season.
“It’s really technical and I like it,” said Worley, second behind Italy’s Federica Brignone last year, of Kronplatz.Brignone won last year’s first edition of the race and is hoping to compete despite a high fever keeping her out of Sunday’s Super-G in Cortina.
Teammate Sofia Goggia returned home to Bergamo after the highs and lows of Cortina where she won the downhill only to crash out of the second downhill and the Super-G the following two days.Hosts Italy have other injury problems but Manuela Moelgg, third last year, returns looking to add to her three podiums this season at Solden, Killington and Courchevel.