COURCHEVEL, France — Mikaela Shiffrin extended her lead over Petra Vlhová in a tight race for the overall title by winning the downhill on Wednesday in the World Cup final.
Shiffrin had barely raced downhill this season – two World Cup events in December and then the Beijing Olympics last month. His best result is 18th.
The American rode a flawless run on the new Eclipse course to take the win and 100 World Cup points. Vlhová finished out of the scoring places in 16th.
After seeing his time in the finish area, Shiffrin put his right hand to his mouth in disbelief. His 74th career World Cup win was only his third downhill.
Shiffrin’s boyfriend, alpine ski racer Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, looked nearby and punched the air with both fists before greeting her with a hug and a kiss.
Shiffrin is looking for a fourth career overall title. She now leads Vlhová by 156 points with just three races to go this week.
She will be favored to increase her lead on Thursday – and possibly even secure the overall title – when the other speed discipline, the super-G, is raced.
“Good job! A good day,” Kilde told Shiffrin shortly after winning the downhill World Cup title all season by placing fourth in the men’s race.
The women’s title went to Sofia Goggia despite her 12th place finish. Goggia’s closest rival, Olympic champion Corinne Suter, finished only 19th. It was the Italian’s third career downhill trophy.
The course seemed to suit Shiffrin. He used the flatter and more technical lower sections of Eclipse Hill than the longer course run by the men, proving to be a balanced run with few sections to find extra speed or make mistakes.
Shiffrin did just enough to finish 0.10 seconds faster than Christine Scheyer and Joana Haehlen, who tied for second place. Even Lara Gut-Behrami in fifth place was only 0.16 seconds behind.
Vlhová was only 0.78 slower than Shiffrin over the 2.3 kilometer (1.4 mile) course, but that left her outside the points. Only the top 15 score in World Cup finals.