Shiffrin leads opening World Cup slalom run in Sestriere
SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin remains unbeatable in slalom.
The American won the 11th consecutive World Cup race that she has entered in the discipline Sunday, adding to a slim first-run lead with a dominating performance in her second trip down the icy Giovanni Agnelli course.
Shiffrin finished with a massive 1.09-second advantage over Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia, with Wendy Holdener of Switzerland placing third, 1.21 back.
''I pushed and it felt really good,'' Shiffrin said. ''The first run I felt tight and the second run I tried to let it fly and that's such a good feeling.''
Shiffrin missed two months last season after tearing a ligament in her right knee during a training fall in Sweden. She has won six straight slaloms since her return.
The 21-year-old Shiffrin increased her lead over defending champion Lara Gut in the overall standings to 105 points.
Gut, who rarely races slalom, finished 28th.
It was the 23rd win of Shiffrin's World Cup career, with 21 coming in slalom and one in giant slalom.
As she seeks her first overall title, Shiffrin is branching out into the speed disciplines of downhill and super-G this season. The multi-event approach has meant she's had less time to dedicate to slalom and that showed with an uncharacteristic mistake in her first run Sunday.
On the upper section of the hard and icy Giovanni Agnelli course, Shiffrin lost control briefly and had to spread her skis apart to regain her balance.
In her second trip down, Shiffrin was cautious on the top but then gained huge chunks of time on her challengers the rest of the way down - as she normally does.
Upon completing her race, Shiffrin let out an adrenaline-filled fist pump.
''I tried to have some fun in the second run,'' Shiffrin said. ''I'm trying to entertain myself.''
Shiffrin also led the first run of Saturday's giant slalom but finished sixth.
The women's World Cup circuit had not stopped in Sestriere, which hosted Alpine skiing races during the 2006 Turin Olympics, since 2008.
The women travel to Val d'Isere, France, for Alpine combined, downhill and super-G races next weekend.