Given her recent form, Mikaela Shiffrin looked nailed on for another win in Austria Friday but the American star slipped from first to fifth after the second and final run of a World Cup giant slalom event.
The 23-year-old leads the World Cup overall standings by a huge margin after seven wins already this season, but Shiffrin struggled in Semmering as Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova stormed to victory.
Shiffrin led by 0.02 seconds from Austria’s Stephanie Brunner after run one but her second effort was well off the pace as Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, France’s Tessa Worley and Brunner also passed her.
With team mate Lindsey Vonn yet to start her farewell season because of injury, Shiffrin has stolen the limelight this term and has taken her tally of career World Cup wins to 50, including double victories in St. Moritz and Courchevel before Christmas.
Shiffrin has now won in four of the six alpine disciplines this season — slalom, giant slalom, super-G and parallel slalom. Only missing are wins in downhill or the combined event.
Shiffrin is targeting a third straight World Cup overall crown and a fourth consecutive slalom world title at the World Championships in Are, Sweden in February.
In Bormio, Italy, homegrown athletes Dominik Paris and Christof Innerhofer topped the standings in a challenging men’s World Cup downhill on the notorious long, bumpy, icy Stelvio track.
Paris clinched his first win of the season and third podium spot by 0.36 seconds from Innerhofer with Switzerland’s downhill world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Beat Feuz in third.
Rising US star Bryce Bennett, 26, was fourth to add to a ninth in Beaver Creek in November.