Mikaela Shiffrin finished fourth, missing her 100th career World Cup podium by five hundredths of a second, in a slalom won by Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova on Sunday in Zagreb.
Shiffrin was fourth fastest in the opening run and could not overtake any of the top three under the lights in the Croatian capital. She finished .27 behind Vlhova.
“Fourth and three tenths out is OK,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “I had a better second run with fewer mistakes — maybe a little less risk, but some better position on my skis. I can take that and go with it.”
Vlhova, who overtook Shiffrin as the top slalom skier over the last year, made a significant mistake late in her second run but still prevailed by .05 over Austrian Katharina Liensberger.
“I didn’t expect that I’d win,” Vlhova said on ORF.
Swiss Michelle Gisin was third. Full results are here.
Shiffrin’s last win in her trademark discipline of slalom was Dec. 29, 2019.
Since then, Vlhova has won six of the seven World Cup slaloms. Shiffrin missed one of those slaloms while going 300 days between races following the Feb. 2 death of her father.
In four slaloms this season, Shiffrin has finished second, third, fourth and fifth.
“I feel like I haven’t really skied my top level of slalom since the beginning of last season,” Shiffrin, who won a giant slalom last month, said before the Zagreb race. “Things are sort of starting to feel more familiar, and I feel like my skiing is starting to come back.
“In the beginning of the season, my goal was to figure out if I actually wanted to do this season and If I could ski fast. … Still being here right now and enjoy skiing somewhat is well beyond what my goal was. So now it’s like, OK, goals maybe have to do with some results, and if I can get a podium in slalom, then can I win? What is it going to take to get back to that place?”
The next Alpine skiing World Cup race is a men’s slalom on Wednesday in Zagreb (live on Olympic Channel and Peacock Premium).
The women have a downhill and super-G on Saturday and Sunday in St. Anton, Austria.
Shiffrin, who has focused on slalom and GS so far this season, will next race in a slalom in Flachau on Jan. 12. She might return to speed races in time to defend her world title in the super-G in February.
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Petra Vlhova wins in Zagreb; Mikaela Shiffrin just misses 100th podium originally appeared on NBCSports.com