Road To The Olympic Games

Alpine Skiing

Slovakia's Petra Vlhova wins giant slalom, Shiffrin takes bronze

Mikaela Shiffrin's careful planning didn't pay off in the giant slalom at the world championships as the American had to settle for a bronze medal behind winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia. Vlhova, who is emerging as Shiffrin's big rival, finished 0.14 seconds ahead of Viktoria Rebensburg.

Slovakian emerging as Shiffrin's big rival

Despite crashing into a gate in between the second and third checkpoints, Slovakia's Petra Vlhova went on to win gold in the giant slalom at the world championships on Thursday. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Mikaela Shiffrin's careful planning didn't pay off in the giant slalom at the world championships as the American had to settle for a bronze medal behind winner Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.

Vlhova, who is emerging as Shiffrin's big rival, finished 0.14 seconds ahead of Viktoria Rebensburg for her first gold at a major championship. It added to a silver that Vlhova won in the Alpine combined on Friday.

Shiffrin chose to skip the combined to preserve energy for the giant slalom and slalom, her best events, having already won the super-G on the opening day of competition.

Shiffrin was 0.38 seconds behind Vlhova in third place, earning her a sixth world championship medal — just two off the American record held by Lindsey Vonn.

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que., finished 23rd, while Mikaela Tommy of Wakefield, Que., was 26th.

Vlhova put her hands to her head when Rebensburg, who was last down in the second leg, crossed the line with the second-best time. Rebensburg, the 2010 Olympic champion in giant slalom, was 0.40 seconds ahead at the third checkpoint only to lose 0.54 seconds in the bottom section.

With gusts buffeting the skiers — it was so windy that organizers removed the banner above the finishing line — Vlhova's power helped her negate a 0.19 deficit to Rebensburg after the first run. She also overcame crashing into a gate in between the second and third checkpoints, which saw her briefly lose control.

Shiffrin had been in fourth place, 0.44 off the lead, after the first leg and had acknowledged she struggled to get a "response from the surface."

The slalom is on Saturday, where Shiffrin is an even bigger favourite.

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