It’s as if they are fighting their own private duel, as Mikaela Shiffrin scored her sixth World Cup win of the season to edge back in front of men’s great Marcel Hirscher.
Shiffrin stormed to victory in a giant slalom in driving snow in Courchevel, France Friday to tighten her grip on what is likely to be a third straight World Cup overall crown.
With team mate Lindsey Vonn yet to start her farewell season because of injury, the 23-year-old Shiffrin has stolen the limelight, taking her tally of World Cup wins to 49. Hirscher is once again dominating the men’s circuit and has taken his total to 63 with five wins since October.
Shiffrin was second behind Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg after the first run in Courchevel, but surged in front on a second run shortened by bad weather to triumph by 0.14 seconds. Rebensburg was 0.19 seconds clear of local favorite Tessa Worley, who was third.
“I like it in France. And, it’s starting to feel…more familiar for me,” said Shiffrin, who is in a relationship with French ski racer Mathieu Faivre.
Shiffrin has now won in four of the six alpine disciplines this season – slalom, giant slalom, super-G and parallel slalom. Only missing are wins in downhill or the combined event.
The 29-year-old Hirscher bagged a slalom in Saalbach Thursday for his fifth win of the season and a record 14th in a calendar year, passing the mark of Ingemar Stenmark, who won 13 races in 1977 and 1979.
The Austrian sits third on the list of most successful skiers on the World Cup circuit, 19 wins behind Vonn, who is retiring after the Lake Louise event in 2019.
The record holder is Sweden’s Stenmark with 86 victories.
Hirscher, a double Olympic champion from PyeongChang 2018, is bidding to extend his record to eight straight World Cup overall titles and will be aiming to defend his world slalom and giant slalom titles at the biennial World Championship in Are, Sweden in Ferbuary.
Shiffrin is targeting a fourth straight slalom world title.