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Hirscher completes weekend double

The Associated Press

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher passes a gate during the men’s World Cup slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland, on Sunday.

The Associated Press ADELBODEN, Switzerland (AP) — Marcel Hirscher completed a perfect World Cup weekend by winning a slalom Sunday to extend the six-time defending overall champion’s lead in the standings.

Retaining his first-run lead, just as he did in Saturday’s giant slalom, Hirscher was 0.13 seconds faster than his Austria teammate Michael Matt on a tricky soft racing surface on a warm day.

“This was a really, really hard race,” said Hirscher, who was losing time through the series of gates to the finish.

Henrik Kristoffersen trailed Hirscher by 0.16 to complete the same podium places as a slalom Thursday at Zagreb, Croatia.

Hirscher’s third win in four days was also a fourth straight in traditional slalom this season and 52nd of a stellar career. The winning streak has survived a series of mistakes in the second runs.

“The clock is always for me on the right side. Especially today I thought, ‘Huh? Really?’” said Hirscher.

Kristoffersen, who won the Adelboden slalom the past two years, now has nine podium finishes without a win in a season increasingly dominated by his big rival. The Norwegian is runner-up to Hirscher in the three season-long standings that they compete in.

“It’s starting to be harder and harder to answer questions now,” acknowledged the 24-year-old Kristoffersen, who said he could not explain why he trailed by 0.71 after the first run.

Waiting in the finish area, Kristoffersen and Matt shared expressions of weary acceptance that Hirscher had hung on for victory yet again before applauding him.

Hirscher spread his arms out wide to soak up applause from a vibrant Swiss crowd at a storied course where the Austrian star has now won seven times in his World Cup reign.

Shiffrin goes back-to-back

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Shortly after winning her 40th career World Cup race on Sunday, overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin drew praise from one of her main rivals for “taking the sport to another level.”

Beaten by 1.64 seconds in a slalom on the Podkoren course, Frida Hansdotter had mixed feelings about the Ameri- can’s dominance.

“It’s frustrating, but it is also good for the sport,” said the Swede, the only skier other than Shiffrin to win the season-long World Cup slalom title in the past five years.

Shiffrin has won 20 of the last 25 slaloms she competed in, and finished on the podium in four of the other five races. Her 29 slalom wins in total leaves her six short of the record set by Austria’s Marlies Schild.

The Olympic slalom champion certainly took a 1.47-second lead in Sunday’s opening leg, which Shiffrin called “maybe the best run of slalom I have ever done in a race.”

It was the fourth straight slalom race where Shiffrin held a first-run lead of more than a second, a huge margin in a sport often decided by hundredths of a second.

Shiffrin posted the third-fastest time in the final leg and beat Hansdotter once again, while Wendy Holdener was 1.87 behind in third for the Swiss skier’s 13nd career slalom podium without winning — a World Cup record.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, the only skier to beat Shiffrin in a slalom this season, was 2.18 behind in fourth.

“I have so much fun skiing today,” said Shiffrin, who has won seven of the last eight races, including all four in 2018. “I feel so like in a good place, it doesn’t feel like I am dreaming, it doesn’t feel like it’s something crazy that’s happening. It just feels like I am skiing really well and I am starting to feel that in the races more and more.”

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