KILLINGTON, Vt (AP) — Victory eluded Mikaela Shiffrin once again in a World Cup giant slalom at Killington, edged into third place by an Italian 1-2 led by Marta Bassino on Saturday.
Bassino sealed a first career World Cup win by retaining her first-run lead to beat Federica Brignone by 0.26 seconds.
“Celebrating together with Federica fills me with even more pride,” said Bassino, whose teammate was first to greet her and hug her in the finish area. Brignone won this race last year.
Shiffrin was a further 0.03 back in third for a fourth straight top-five finish in GS at the Vermont venue without taking the win.
Still, the three-time defending overall World Cup champion extended her standings lead with a third podium finish to start the season. She also leads the giant slalom standings after two races.
“I felt pretty good with my skiing in both runs so, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the day,” Shiffrin said. She also will be favored on Sunday to claim a slalom win for the fourth straight year on the Super Star course.
Brignone dedicated her podium finish to a friend, named Edoardo, who died “just hours ago” before the race in an avalanche on Mont Blanc on the border of France and Italy.
“My thoughts are with him,” said Brignone, who put down the fastest second run to rise from seventh.
Bassino is a former junior world champion in giant slalom, who had four previous third-place finishes on the World Cup circuit. She also placed fifth at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, where Shiffrin won and Brignone took bronze.
“I finally put together two runs,” Bassino said. “I tried to focus just on myself and to ski like I know how. Then I saw the green light and I thought, ‘Wow.’
“I hope this can be a turning point for my career. I knew I had a result like this in me, I just needed a spark to transform what I do every day into gold.”
Bassino clocked under 50 seconds in bright sunshine for each run which was shortened due to gusting winds at the scheduled start higher up the mountain.
Alice Robinson of New Zealand, who won the season-opening giant slalom last month at Soelden, Austria, failed to finish the first run, racing the day before she turns 18.
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