Worley takes advantage of Shiffrin absence to win giant slalom

·2-min read
France's Tessa Worley claimed a 15th giant slalom career win in the World Cup in Lienz, Austria on December 28, 2021. (AFP/Dominik ANGERER)

France's Tessa Worley won the World Cup giant slalom in Lienz on Tuesday, a race which US star Mikaela Shiffrin missed due to testing positive for Covid-19.

Two-time giant slalom world champion Worley, claimed a 15th World Cup victory in the discipline, finishing 0.30 sec ahead of World Cup overall defending champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.

Sweden's Sara Hector, who won the event at Courchevel last week, was third fastest at 0.38 sec.

Worley, 32, set the fastest time in the first leg and was fourth fastest in the second.

"I'm super happy with this race, I managed to have two solid runs," said Worley.

"I'm having fun, enjoying myself and I think that shines through," continued Worley, who became only the third female skier with at least 15 World Cup wins in giant slalom, after Vreni Schneider (20) and Annemarie Moser-Proell (16).

"The figures are nice, but above all I'm happy to still have this fire, to produce a high-performance after many years," she added.

For Worley it was a first win of the season before the Winter Olympics in Beijing in just over a month's time where she will hope to secure her first ever medal at the quadrennial showpiece event.

She has been improving steadily after eighth in Soelden, Austria in October followed by fifth and fourth in Courchevel, France as she builds towards Beijing with her last win at Kronplatz, Italy in January.

"In Courchevel I felt my skiing was there but I didn't manage to finish on the podium. I hope to continue like this in 2022," she said.

"For the Winter Olympics I hope I can keep this mindset which liberates me, that's how I'm going to approach competition, to be on the starting line to play, whether it is to win or lose in the end.

"These race situations are good training each time. But I know how hit and miss skiing can be."

The race took place without spectators after the Austrian ski federation decided it was wisest in the wake of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 taking hold.

Shiffrin, who leads Italy's Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia by 93 points in the overall World Cup standings, revealed on Monday she had tested positive.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Shiffrin, 26, is one of several female ski stars to have tested positive.

Switzerland's 2016 overall World Cup champion Lara Gut-Behrami missed the Val d'Isere and Courchevel meetings.

Austria's double ski world champion Katharina Liensberger also missed the Courchevel round of the World Cup season.

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