Olympic champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia beat Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. by a margin of 0.24 seconds in heavy snow conditions to level the latter’s World Cup victories of this year at Courchevel on Thursday.

Vlhova, who won the opening slalom of this year’s FIS World Cup series in Finland, was 0.17 seconds behind the 91-time slalom winner after the first run, and posted 52.73 seconds in a more aggressive attempt to reach the podium top with a total time of 1:48.14. Shiffrin was denied the chance to clinch a third straight victory, after winning the slalom event at Killington where Vloha finished second, and downhill at St. Moritz.

File photo of Petra Vlhova. /CFP

File photo of Petra Vlhova. /CFP

Katharina Truppe of Austria finished third with 2.06 seconds behind Vlhova to win her fourth slalom World Cup title.

“I think it’s really good for our sport and especially for us, we are pushing each other all the time. Either me or Mikaela, she wants to be ahead of me and I want to be ahead of her, so it’s good we’re pushing each other,” Vlhova commented on the rivalry between her and the double Olympic champion. “We’re challenging each other but also putting our sport and our skiing to higher levels. It will get better and better,” she added.

“I skied really well in the last weeks, last few races, but something was always missing. I don’t want to say ‘finally’, but after the Levi DNF (in the second race) I was really angry. With my team we worked really strong, thanks goes to my coach and my team because they are always behind me. This victory is very important, I know I can be fast and today I showed it,” Vlhova told FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation) TV. 

After Courchevel, Shiffrin remains top of the standings with 700 points en route to her sixth overall World Cup title, followed by Italy’s Federica Brignone with 557 and Vlhova with 491. Shiffrin achieved a personal best overall score of 2,206 World Cup points from 31 races last season to top her previous best record from 2018-19 when she was registered in 26 races. 

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