Shiffrin leads in giant slalom, set to get 4th WCup trophy

SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin is set to lift a record-tying fourth World Cup crystal trophy this season after leading the first run of a giant slalom Sunday.

The overall, slalom and super-G standings winner needs just a top-15 finish to clinch the season-long giant slalom title, and was 0.59 seconds faster than former Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg.

New Zealand prospect Alice Robinson was third, 0.84 back. The 17-year-old Robinson earned her World Cup finals entry by winning the junior world title last month.

Shiffrin can be overtaken in the standings only if she fails to score points in the season-ending race and her closest challenger Petra Vlhova wins.

Vlhova was fourth-fastest with 0.97 to make up on Shiffrin in the afternoon second run that ends the women’s season.

A fourth standings title for Shiffrin would match the women’s World Cup record jointly held by Lindsey Vonn (2010, 2012) and Tina Maze (2013).

Marcel Hirscher already clinched three crystal trophies — including a record-extending eighth straight overall title and the sixth of his career in slalom — before the final slalom race Sunday.

Seeming fatigued by a long season, Hirscher was sixth-fastest in the first run, trailing 1.43 behind Clement Noel in what could be his last World Cup race.

The 30-year-old Hirscher said Saturday after placing sixth in giant slalom that he could spend next season with his young family “cooking and holding the baby.”

“I’m thinking about this every day,” Hirscher said of possibly retiring, acknowledging he has a “very hard decision” in the next two weeks.

Noel took a clear lead with only the tall Swiss teammates Ramon Zenhaeusern and Daniel Yule within a second of his time on another sun-soaked day in Andorra.

The 2-meter (6-feet-6) Zenhaeusern was 0.84 back, and the 1.87-meter (6-feet-2) Yule had 0.95 to make up in the afternoon second run.

Yule has pledged half his prize money Sunday to a non-profit agency campaigning against climate change, and was on track to earn 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000) for third place. 09:29:09

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