December 29, 2015

LIENZ, Austria (AP) Frida Hansdotter held on to her first-run lead to win a women's World Cup slalom on Tuesday, making her the main candidate to take over the discipline title from the injured Mikaela Shiffrin.

The Swede's third career win helped extend her lead in the discipline standings to 100 points over Petra Vlhova of Slovakia. She is the only skier to reach the podium in all four slaloms this season.

Hansdotter finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 47.02 seconds on the Schlossberg course to edge Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.07. Vlhova, who won the previous slalom in Are, Sweden, two weeks ago, posted the fastest second-run time and finished 0.43 behind in third.

Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria, who was 0.39 back in third after the opening leg, failed to finish her final run.

''It was a really nice race today,'' Hansdotter said. ''I had a solid first run but I felt I had more to give.''

Carrying a slim 0.11-second lead into her second run, Hansdotter avoided mistakes and lost just four-hundredths of her advantage, denying Holdener a first World Cup slalom victory for a Swiss female skier in 13 years.

''It was amazing,'' said Hansdotter, who raised both arms in celebration after crossing the finish. ''I knew it was close. In the upper part I had the feeling it was good but on the steep part I struggled a bit.''

Although it was only her third win and first of the season, the slalom specialist is one of the most consistent performers on the circuit with 19 podium finishes. She came runner-up in 14 slalom races, a women's World Cup record she shares with Swedish great Pernilla Wiberg.

Seven times Hansdotter came second to Shiffrin, who also beat the Swede to retain her world title last February.

The Olympic champion from the United States, who won the World Cup slalom title the past three years and also took the first two races this season, is out for an indefinite time after hurting her right knee in a warmup crash for the Dec. 12 giant slalom in Are.

The women's World Cup continues with another slalom in Santa Caterina, Italy, next Tuesday. That race has been moved from Zagreb because of a lack of snow in the Croatian resort.

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