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US skier Shiffrin leads slalom in pursuit of record 86th win


SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin had what she called a “perfect run” to lead a women’s World Cup slalom after the opening leg Sunday as she approached the all-time record for the most career wins with 86.

If Shiffrin wins the race, she matches Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s best mark from the 1980s.

Shiffrin seemed to get wide on a few turns early in her run, but quickly regained control and was flawless on the middle and bottom sections.

The American built a big lead of 0.67 seconds over Lena Dürr of Germany. Croatian skier Zrinka Ljutic was 0.85 behind in third, while the rest of the field was more than a second off the pace.

“This was the perfect run, I think. I was aggressive everywhere and really good on my timing,” Shiffrin said. “Even when I thought, maybe, I was a little bit late or something, I just could make the turn where I wanted and keep pushing. So that’s exactly how I wanted to feel, so it’s perfect.”

Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden was 1.03 behind in fourth, and Olympic slalom champion Petra Vlhová of Slovakia trailed by 1.54.

The second run starts 12.15 p.m. local time.

Racing at the resort near the Czech-Polish border where she had her World Cup debut as a 15-year-old almost 12 years ago, Shiffrin dominated a slalom on the same course Saturday, posting the fastest times in both runs for her career win 85.

She surpassed the women’s record held by her former teammate Lindsey Vonn last Tuesday. Vonn had 82 wins when she retired four years ago.

A victory Sunday would also see Shiffrin wrap up the season-long slalom title with two races to spare. Her closest challenger in the discipline standings, Wendy Holdener, had a costly mistake and the Swiss skier failed to qualify for the second run and won’t score World Cup points.

It would mark yet another record for Shiffrin, making her the first woman to win seven season titles in slalom, surpassing Swiss standout Vreni Schneider, who won it six times in the 1980s and ’90s.

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