SOLDEN: Insatiable Mikaela Shiffrin won Saturday’s (Mar 16) slalom in Andorra to seal a pulsating 16th World Cup win of a record-breaking season, as Alexis Pinturault prevailed in the giant slalom.
Last week the all-conquering American Shiffrin set a new record for most World Cup victories in a season with her 15th to pull clear of the previous benchmark of 14 set by Swiss legend Vreni Schneider who achieved the feat in 1988-89.
It was Shiffrin’s 59th career success on Saturday and it came in the week she celebrated her 24th birthday.
To put that tally of 59 into context, Lindsey Vonn, who is ten years older than Shiffrin, retired with 82 career wins in February.
Shiffrin had already been assured of the slalom small globe to go alongside her super-G globe and overall title.
“I’m noy on this circuit just to win Globes and then stop,” Shiffrin told press after the race.
“It’s my passion, I’m always full on. I love this sport and it brings great joy to my life,” she explained.
She is almost certain to add the giant slalom globe on Sunday when she only needs to finish in the first 15 places.
If she does she will draw level with Lindsey Vonn (2010/2012) and Tina Maze (2013) as the winner of four World Cup titles in a season.
Shiffrin came good again on Saturday, beating Swiss Wendy Holdener by 0.07sec to swell her World Cup points haul to 2,104, the second highest total in history behind the 2,414 points Maze amassed in the 2012/13 campaign.
“I’m not just here to win globes and stop,” explained Shiffrin.
“I still have passion and fire in me so I’m still giving it everything as I love this sport. It brings a lot of joy to life.”
Earlier Pinturault won the men’s giant slalom with Marcel Hirscher already assured of the discipline’s small globe back in sixth.
Pinturault left it late to open his giant slalom account for the season, finishing 0.44sec quicker than Swiss rival Marco Odermatt with Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec at 1.03sec back in third.
It was the 23rd World Cup win of Pinturault’s career and in the standings it left the alpine combined world champion second behind Hirscher, who finished this last giant slalom in Andorra 1.74sec behind.
Austria’s Hirscher secured his eighth consecutive overall World Cup crown last weekend in Slovenia. The 30-year-old made sure of the giant slalom globe at Bansko in Bulgaria last month.
“This result wasn’t what I was hoping for,” said Hirscher.
“But I’m still happy with this sixth globe in the giant.”
Pinturault, who claimed the combined small globe also last month, dominated the first run at Soldeu before fending off Odermatt’s challenge in the second leg.
The World Cup season closes on Sunday with Shiffrin and Hirscher favourites to end their campaigns on a high in the giant slalom and slalom.