US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin faltered in her quest to break the record for most World Cup wins in a season after missing out in the Czech Republic on Friday.
The 23-year-old, who has already wrapped up a third straight World Cup overall title, needs one more victory to beat the mark of 14 season wins she holds with Swiss great Vreni Schneider.
But a third place in a giant slalom in overcast Spindleruv Mlyn means her mission moves to Saturday’s slalom as she chases a 58th World Cup win in total.
Shiffrin was 1.33 seconds adrift after a lacklustre first run and despite a storming second effort she finished in third, 0.6 seconds behind Slovakia’s giant slalom world champion Petra Vlhova, who won her fifth race of the season.
“It’s a bit frustrating, because I only have myself to blame for my performance the first run,” Shiffrin told the US Ski and Snowboard Team website.
The American can wrap up her first giant slalom season crown at the World Cup finals in Andorra next week. She leads Vlhova, her main rival all season, by 97 points with 100 points available to the winner.
“Those three points are enough motivation for me,” she added. “It’s not something to protect, but it’s something to be really aware of, and again - like all season - take nothing for granted.
“Clearly Petra is skiing well, but my second run was something to be proud of, so we’ll see what happens.”
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Shiffrin clinched the overall Crystal Globe without even strapping on her skis when heavy snow forced the cancellation of last weekend’s races in Rhosa Khutor, Russia.
The American was in Italy training at the time when she learned her lead over Vlhova was therefore unassailable.
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The formidable Shiffrin has also wrapped up a third straight World Cup slalom crown and sixth in total. And she clinched her fourth consecutive slalom world title in Sweden last month alongside gold in super-G and bronze in giant slalom.
Shiffrin has joined her US compatriot, the now retired Lindsey Vonn, and Austrian Petra Kronberger in claiming three straight overall titles.
Only the legendary Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who won five in a row (1971-75), stands ahead of the 23-year-old, who is breaking a string of records with her dominant displays.
Shiffrin is five wins short of Moser-Proell on the all-time list of race wins, and 25 short of Vonn’s mark of 82. Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark holds the outright record with 86 World Cup victories.
She will compete in next week’s racing in the Czech Republic ahead of the World Cup finals where she will look to clinch the super-G and giant slalom crowns.