LEVI, Finland (AP) — Petra Vlhova and Michelle Gisin shared the lead after the opening run of a women’s World Cup slalom Sunday, while Mikaela Shiffrin was looming in fourth.
On a course set by her coach Mike Day in her second race after a 10-month break, Shiffrin struggled in the opening meters and trailed by nearly four tenths at the first split.
However, the American three-time overall champion matched the leaders’ pace for the remainder of her run and finished 0.37 seconds behind.
The U.S. ski team said Shiffrin was “feeling a bit lethargic” and “still trying to figure out how to manage her energy levels,” a day after she came runner-up to Vlhova in her comeback race after 300 days away.
The American had not raced since the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, in early February. The coronavirus outbreak and a back injury prevented her from an earlier return to the circuit.
Aiming for her second win in as many days, Vlhova opened the race in Finnish Lapland and finished her run without any apparent mistakes in 54.32 seconds.
Gisin was 0.29 off the lead at the second split but won three tenths on the World Cup slalom champion from Slovakia in the steep middle section.
Gisin, who is the Olympic champion in the combined event, has yet to win a World Cup race, while Vlhova is after her 16th career title and fifth straight slalom win.
In a streak that started in January 2017, the last 27 World Cup slaloms have all been won by either Shiffrin, with 19 wins, or Vlhova.
Gisin’s Swiss teammate, Wendy Holdener, was 0.23 behind in third.
Federica Brignone, the overall World Cup champion from Italy, finished 24th and had 1.57 seconds to make up in the second leg.
A limited number of spectators were allowed at the race.
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