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Shiffrin beats blizzard to win on World Cup return

COURCHEVEL (Agencies): American Mikaela Shiffrin produced a storming second run to leap from third to first when she clinched a World Cup giant slalom victory on her comeback from injury at Courchevel on Friday.

Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, the 2010 Olympic champion, led after the first run and managed to cling on to second while France’s giant slalom world champion Tessa Worley came third.

This was Shiffrin’s first giant slalom win on the circuit since her gold in the discipline at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February but her sixth success on the World Cup season so far.

With a third straight overall Crystal Globe already looking all but a formality for the 23-year-old this was also her 49th World Cup win with Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record standing at 86.

“I’m lucky, that was really close and it went down to the last few gates,” explained a thrilled Shiffrin.

“Normally I don’t do very well in these kinds of conditions,” said the woman from Vail, Colorado who has two Olympic golds and three world championship titles.

“But I trained well here on the track and today for some reason the skis felt perfect on my feet.” Shiffrin now leads the World Cup overall standings on 789pts, with Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel on 367 in second place.

She had not competed since winning a parallel slalom in St Moritz on December 9 after struggling with back pain, With a slick performance in mist and falling snow Rebensburg led a posse of five skiers within 0.27sec of each other including giant slalom World Cup leader Federica Brignone who still leads Shiffrin by 20 points despite coming fifth on the day.