The thrilling rivalry between Stefan Kraft and Andreas Wellinger continued this weekend in Oslo.
Just as it was at the recent world championships in Lahti, the Austrian and German produced an entertaining battled for top honours.
In the end it was recently crowned double world champion Kraft who got the better of his rival.
Kraft has been almost unstoppable since the end of December and continued his fine form with victory in an individual event a day after helping his nation win the team competition at the same Norwegian resort.
With his ninth victory of the campaign the 23-year old has taken over at the top of the world cup standings ahead of Poland’s Kamil Stoch, who disappointed with a 22nd place finish on the day.
With five individual rounds to go Kraft now leads Stoch by a slender 31 points.
Wellinger has been hot on the heels of Kraft over the past few weeks.
He finished runner up to his rival in both the normal and large hill events at the recent world championships in Finland and on Sunday he once again had to settle for second best.
It marked his sixth second place finish of the season, which also includes one win and two third places for the 21-year old.
Fellow German Markus Esienbichler rounded out the Oslo podium in third.
New overall leader: Stefan Kraft! 🙏🏼 Photo
NTBscanpix</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RAWAIRTournament?src=hash">#RAWAIRTournament</a> <a href="https://t.co/36N4UZfjuu">pic.twitter.com/36N4UZfjuu</a></p>— RAW AIR Tournament (raw_air) March 11, 2017
At the summit
Mikaela Shiffrin will celebrate her 22nd birthday on Monday.
America’s skiing sensation gifted her rivals absolutely nothing over the weekend on home snow in California, instead she offered herself an early double birthday present.
The reigning Olympic and world slalom champion celebrated the World Cup’s return to Squaw Valley for the first time since 1969 by claiming the penultimate giant slalom of the campaign.
On Friday she beat Italian Federica Brignone into second while leader of the discipline standings Tessa Worley of France took third and saw her lead over Shiffrin shrink to just 80 points with one Giant Slalom left.
That crystal globe will be decided at the season-finale in Aspen next week, but one title that won’t be is the slalom, Shiffrin made sure of that on Saturday.
Shiffrin took full advantage of her rivals’ mistakes to hand herself a shiny early birthday present.
When her closest challenger for the crown, Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia, wiped out in the first leg Shiffrin cruised down the course to take the race win and the discipline title for a fourth time in five seasons.
squawalpine</a> sweep for <a href="https://twitter.com/MikaelaShiffrin">MikaelaShiffrin as she wins Slalom! Claims 4th World Cup Slalom Season Title!
fisalpine</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GEPA?src=hash">#GEPA</a> <a href="https://t.co/38J77sMQE0">pic.twitter.com/38J77sMQE0</a></p>— Barilla US (BarillaUS) March 12, 2017
Barring a major catastrophe Shiffrin is now set to also secure her first overall World Cup title in Colorado this coming week.
Aspen will host the final four World Cup races of the season and it all starts on Wednesday.
A downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom are on the menu for both the men and women.
Get to know the inspiring woman behind the (ski) mask –
MikaelaShiffrin</a> >> <a href="https://t.co/R3CAFssxhD">https://t.co/R3CAFssxhD</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IWD2017?src=hash">#IWD2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/9DlffxL4Rm">pic.twitter.com/9DlffxL4Rm</a></p>— Red Bull Snow (RedBullSnow) March 8, 2017
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