Petra Vlhova won the last women’s slalom race of this World Cup season. The Slovakian triumphed on Saturday in the slalom in Soldeu (Andorra) ahead of podium debutant Leona Popovic from Croatia (+0.43 seconds) and US dominator Mikaela Shiffrin (+0.86). Austria’s slalom trio could not avoid a decal of the weak season in changeable conditions. Only Katharina Truppe saw the finish and finished tenth (+2.73).
Franziska Gritsch was 13th after the first round and was still the best ÖSv woman. But after three goals, the ÖSV runner shot out of the decision. For Katharina Liensberger, 17th at half time, the second run was also over after a few seconds after a blackout or driving error. Gritsch and Liensberger are still in action in the giant slalom on Sunday. The season is over for the squad. The giant slalom fourth at the 2022 Olympics missed qualifying for the final.
The Austrians are heading for the weakest podium yield since the 2017/18 season. As then, the team holds nine podiums with two wins. ÖSV women have only missed a two-digit number of podiums three times in the past 30 years (1995, 2017, 2018). In the technical disciplines giant slalom and slalom, this year’s record is devastating with only a third place (troop in the Killington slalom).
“We were a very strong slalom team last year. It’s bitter to be the only one in the result now,” said Truppe on ORF TV. The Carinthian said of her own situation: “It’s not fish and it’s not meat. I just can’t do any better at the moment, especially on a slope like this where you need so much confidence. There are at least a few points that I will take with me.” Alpin boss Herbert Mandl said: “In terms of technology, the worm was in there right from the start. Lots of distrust, no confidence and none caught on.”
Shiffrin, who made a few mistakes this time, was then presented with her seventh slalom ball. Popovic was on the podium for the first time in her 68th World Cup race. Vlhova was already leading at half-time and only won the race against Popovic on the final slope. After Flachau (slalom) she won a second time this season.
In the previous five seasons, Vlhova had always celebrated at least five victories. With nine podium places, her season was far from miserable this time, but not as the 27-year-old overall World Cup winner of 2020/21 would have liked. Her big competitor Shiffrin was too powerful, too flawed Vlhova herself.
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