Sara Hector continued her strong form by winning the final women’s giant slalom race before the Beijing Olympics, as Mikaela Shiffrin struggled once again.
Hector cemented her status as the person to beat in the Olympic GS by overcoming a big mistake in her second run in Kronplatz to earn a third World Cup win of the season in her favourite discipline.
First-run leader Petra Vlhova couldn’t match the Swede’s time and just missed out on her first GS win of the season, finishing 0.15 seconds behind.
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Shiffrin was third after the first run but made several uncharacteristic errors in the second to finish fifth, 0.81 seconds back. The American star been inconsistent after a recent bout with Covid-19, mixing a slalom win in Schladming with several disappointing performances.
Shiffrin is the defending Olympic champion in GS, while Hector hadn't won a World Cup race in seven years before getting her first victory of the season in Courchevel. Now it's Hector who suddenly looks like the favourite in Beijing after most people expected a straight duel between Shiffrin and Vlhova.
The Swede was second after the first run but was able to overtake Vlhova despite losing time after a poor turn halfway down the course.
“I was so surprised when I crossed the finish line, because I thought I had screwed it up a little bit there,” Hector said. “I was really pushing after that. … Crazy that I was this fast in the end anyway.”
Shiffrin’s lead in the overall World Cup standings is now just 17 points ahead of Vlhova. Hector leads the giant slalom standings by 95 points ahead of Tessa Worley, who was third in Kronplatz.
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