Alpine Skiing

Petra Vlhova wins slalom race to reclaim overall World Cup lead

Petra Vlhova defended her first-run advantage in a slalom on Friday to claim her 20th career victory. She moved 64 points ahead of Swiss rival Lara Gut-Behrami — who does not race slaloms — in the overall standings.

Slovakian skier earns victory in Sweden

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia reached the top of the podium at a World Cup slalom race in Are, Sweden, on Friday. (Jonas Ericsson/Getty Images)

Petra Vlhova is back on course to become the first Slovakian to win skiing's overall World Cup title.

Vlhova defended her first-run advantage in a slalom on Friday in Are, Sweden, to claim her 20th career victory. She moved 64 points ahead of Swiss rival Lara Gut-Behrami — who does not race slaloms — in the overall standings.

Vlhova finished 0.20 seconds ahead of recently crowned world champion Katharina Liensberger and 0.64 ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin.

Vlhova held her arms out wide and spun around in the finish area to celebrate.

Laurence St-Germain finished 2.5 seconds behind the winner in 11th, while fellow Canadian Ali Nullmeyer was 12th and 2.63 back. 

For Nullmeyer the result proves that the work she's been putting in since returning from injury last year is working.

"Today felt awesome. I was a bit bummed with my first run so I was ready to go for it second run. The snow was perfect and clean for me so I tried to take advantage of that," Ali said. "I'm super stoked and excited to get to go again [on Saturday]."

Laurence, who will race in the World Cup finals next week, is feeling good and knows she has more in the tank.

"I am pretty happy with today, I'm a bit bummed because I had a mistake [on my] second run but I'm happy with 11th. I had a good mindset throughout the day so I just want to bring that to tomorrow's race," said Laurence.

"The highlight of the day is Ali's second run. It was great to see her in the top-15. She's been fast in training so it was just a matter of time before she pulled off a result like this."

Shiffrin, who stood second after the opening run, pulled off a major recovery after a big mistake in her second trip down.

Jeff Lackie, Shiffrin's coach, set the second run, but that didn't help the American when she lost control on the upper portion of the course.

The race was held under the lights at dusk.

Vlhova also added to her lead in the slalom standings, where she now leads Shiffrin by 85 points and Liensberger by 90 points.

Wendy Holdener and Lena Duerr finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Another slalom is scheduled for Saturday in Are. Then the finals start in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

With files from CBC Sports

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