SESTRIERE – Wendy Holdener had a lengthy wait for her first slalom victory. The Swiss skier made it two out of two on Sunday.
And this time she didn’t have to share top spot.
Holdener improved on her second position after the opening run to triumph in Sestriere, finishing 0.47 seconds ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States and 0.70 ahead of first-run leader Petra Vlhová, who is still looking for her first win of the season.
“It is amazing. I can believe it, but it is unreal I guess. My second run was the best run I showed in a race actually,” Holdener said.
The 29-year-old Holdener was the surprise joint winner in Killington, Vermont, last month along with Anna Swenn Larsson. It was Holdener’s first slalom victory after finishing in the top three 30 times for the unwanted record of most World Cup podium finishes without a win in the discipline.
“I am quite exhausted but I think I had some really good turns and some things to fix for the next slalom," Shiffrin said. "Anyway, it is a step from Killington and a step in the right direction. It was two really difficult days, there was some really impressive skiing from Wendy (Holdener) and a really impressive weekend from Petra.
“I had a lot of fatigue from yesterday ... You just try to recover the best you can. Today, I am mostly happy with my performance but not really satisfied."
Holdener moved joint top of the slalom standings with Shiffrin, who won the two season-opening slalom races. She also moved into second overall, 19 points behind Shiffrin and 26 ahead of Vlhová.
The 27-year-old Vlhová won the slalom title last season — as well as Olympic gold — but finished second in the overall standings to Shiffrin. Vlhová won the overall title the previous year.
Behind the top three in Sestriere, there was a surprise performance from Hanna Aronsson Elfman, with the Swedish teenager just missing out on a first ever podium.
Aronsson Elfman was 16th after the first run but posted the fastest time of the day in the second and sat in the leader's chair until the last three skiers finally bested her.
The 19-year-old's previous best finish in a World Cup race was ninth in the season-opening slalom. She had never finished higher than 15th before this season.
More AP skiing: https://apnews.com/hub/skiing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports