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Shiffrin takes GS in Courchevel, 4th straight World Cup win

December 21, 2018
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United States' Mikaela Shiffrin reacts in the finish area after winning a ski World Cup women's Giant Slalom race, in Courchevel, France, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

COURCHEVEL, France (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin appears unstoppable.

The American skier won a giant slalom on Friday for her fourth successive World Cup win. Shiffrin sat out the races in Val Gardena to rest up for a big block of technical events, her specialty.

With her 49th career victory, a third straight season-long overall title appears inevitable.

Shiffrin became the youngest female skier to reach 49 World Cup wins, and she could reach the half-century mark in Saturday’s slalom. She is undefeated in her trademark event since finishing a surprising fourth at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

“Today was a great way to start this weekend ... but I didn’t get a lot of slalom training (the past few days), so I’m just going to move my feet quick and see what happens,” Shiffrin said with a laugh.

If she wins on Saturday she will match the all-time record, held by Austria’s Marlies Schild, of 35 World Cup slalom victories.

She won a giant slalom as well as a parallel slalom last year in Courchevel.

“I like it in France. And, it’s starting to feel ... more familiar for me,” Shiffrin said with a giggle, alluding to her relationship with French giant slalom specialist Mathieu Faivre.

Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic GS champion, has won six out of her 10 races this season to soar ahead in the standings as she looks to emulate compatriot Lindsey Vonn’s feat of winning three successive overall World Cup titles.

Shiffrin has more than double the points of her nearest rival. Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway is second in the overall standings with 367 points, compared to Shiffrin’s 789.

Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria is third, with 359 points.

Under heavy snow on Friday, Shiffrin had a fantastic second run to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 49.81 seconds and beat first-run leader Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany by 0.14 seconds.

Shiffrin trailed Rebensburg by 0.08 after the first run but was more aggressive on the second, which was moved down because of weather. She let out a yell of celebration after she crossed the line and saw her time.

France’s Tessa Worley recovered from injury to take third place, 0.33 behind Shiffrin.

The top eight finishers were separated by just 0.93 seconds.

“It was a big fight and I knew it was going to be really tricky,” Shiffrin said. “I was fighting, fighting, fighting, and it worked. Just a little bit, 14 hundredths is not a lot and Vicky had some mistakes so I’m a bit lucky maybe.”

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