New Zealand teenager Robinson wins GS in absence of Shiffrin

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia: New Zealand teenager Alice Robinson crowned her breakthrough season in the World Cup with a second career victory on Saturday.

Robinson, who turned 18 in December, overtook first-run leader Petra Vlhova to win a giant slalom, almost four months after edging out Mikaela Shiffrin in the season-opener.

The Olympic GS champion from the United States was missing this time. She is taking an indefinite break from racing following the death of her father Jeff almost two weeks ago.

“At this point we have no information to share about a return to Europe or a return to competition,” US team coach Magnus Andersson said on the eve of the race.

While Robinson made a costly mistake in the first leg to concede the lead to Vlhova, Robinson avoided errors in a similarly attacking final run to beat the Slovakian skier by 0.34 seconds.

The winner was praised by Vlhova, who was chasing a personal-best fifth victory of the season.

“If you are first after the first run, you want to keep your position so I am a little bit sad,” Vlhova said. “Today she was really good, Alice. She did the perfect run in the second run. Maybe it was difficult to beat her today.”

Slovenia’s Meta Hrovat and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener shared third place as they both earned a second career podium result in giant slalom.

Working with Lindsey Vonn’s former coach Chris Knight, Robinson is leaving her mark on the season.

She made her debut in Kranjska Gora two years ago but managed just two top-30 results.

Robinson won the junior world title in GS in February 2019 and finished runner-up to Shiffrin in the World Cup Finals the following month before beating the American skier in October.

After that victory, however, Robinson was hampered by a knee injury and initially failed to reproduce the all-attacking style that helped her eclipse the three-time overall champion in the season-opener.

Slowly getting back to form, the New Zealand teenager was fifth and sixth in two races on consecutive days in Sestriere four weeks ago.

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