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Kristoffersen and Shiffrin claim slalom victories as Stoch ends ski jumping title drought


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Kristoffersen and Shiffrin claim slalom victories as Stoch ends ski jumping title drought

After missing the opening slalom last month in Levi due to a sponsorship issue, Henrik Kristoffersen celebrated his 11th career World Cup victory by winning at the iconic French resort of Val d’Isere.

In near perfect conditions the Norwegian showed off his power and technical ability on the steep and icy Face de Bellevarde course.

The 22-year old was third after the first run which was headed by Saturday’s giant slalom winner Alexis Pinturault of France.

But Kristoffersen was at his best in the second run to claim his first win since a slalom race in Schladming at the end of January.

After the win, Kristoffersen said: ‘‘The slope was super tough, I had some small problems with the grip in the first run, a little bit. I made a small bobble at the top and then I skied pretty conservative down. It was the first run of the slalom season for me so I was a little bit like ‘yeah, how is this going to go?’, but in the second run I just pushed it.’‘

In second place a sizeable 0.75 seconds adrift was five-time defending overall world cup champion Marcel Hirscher.

The Austrian has been on the podium in every technical race he has participated in this season, and he continued that trend again on Sunday.

The points earned with a second place finish increased Hirscher’s overall lead over Pinturault to 156 points.

Second also in Saturday’s giant slalom, Hirscher said: ‘‘160 points on one weekend is definitely not too bad, but what is a little point we can discuss are the big time gaps between the first position and the second position today. Henrik is skiing on another level than that of the rest of the field.’‘

Alexander Khoroshilov skied a very strong first run and limited the damage in the second to claim third place nearly two seconds back.

The Russian, who had never fared better than 8th in Val d’Isère, celebrated his 7th career podium.

First-run leader Pinturault straddled a gate on the second descent of the course and did not finish.

The men’s World Cup circuit next travels to Val Gardena and Alta Badia in Italy.

At the Summit

It was the same schedule for the women in Sestrieres, Italy this weekend as it was for the men in Val d’Isere.

After Tessa Worley’s victory in the giant slalom on Saturday Mikaela Shiffrin continued her stranglehold on the slalom discipline the following day.

The 21-year old Olympic champion was in typical dominant form as she won an 11th consecutive World Cup slalom she has competed in.

And although she suffered a minor blip at the top of the first run she still managed to top the timesheets.

The American then blew the field away in the second to claim her 23rd world cup victory – 21 of those have come in her favoured slalom discipline.

Shiffrin, the overall world cup leader finished a whopping 1.09 seconds clear of Veronika Velez Zuzulova, who took the runners-up spot.

The Slovakian slalom specialist has not won a race since Flacau, Austria in January but now has two second-placed finishes to her name this season after also finishing runner up at Killington in the US.

She is also second in the discipline standings, 90 points behind Shiffrin.

Rounding out the podium in the Italian resort was Wendy Holdener, who was 1.21 seconds off the pace.

It was the third top three finish for the Swiss skier after last month’s slalom trips in Levi, Finland and Killington.

It was the first time the women’s world cup circuit has stopped in Sestriere since 2008.

The women’s elite will head to France and Val d’Isere next weekend for combined, downhill and super-G races.

Take off

Poland’s Kamil Stoch finally returned to the winners’ circle on the Ski Jumping World Cup circuit.

The two time Olympic champion ended an almost two-year title drought by taking top honours in Lilllihammer, Norway – the host venue for the 1994 Winter Olympics.

The 29-year-old ended the event with 289.9 points following leaps of 130.5 and 134 metres.

It was the first victory for Stoch since January 2015.

Maciej Kot made it a Poland one-two with second place.

Kot landed jumps of 129.5 and 136 metres which left him a mere 0.6 points adrift of his compatriot.

Germany’s Marcus Eisenbichler was third while overall World Cup leader Domen Prevc was sixth.