SOLDEU, Andorra (AP) — Marta Bassino edged out Federica Brignone for an Italian one-two finish in a tight opening run of a women’s World Cup giant slalom Saturday.
Bassino was 0.03 faster than her teammate, while New Zealand’s Alice Robinson in third and Norway’s Thea Louise Stjernesund in fourth finished within two-tenths of a second of the lead.
Mikaela Shiffrin sits out this weekend’s races to nurse a left knee injury and the American star could lose her lead in the overall World Cup standings to Lara Gut-Behrami.
The Swiss skier won the previous GS and trails Shiffrin by 95 points. Gut-Behrami would need to win the race to overtake the American but ranked ninth after the opening run and has 0.61 to make up on Bassino later.
Shiffrin will also skip Sunday’s slalom in Andorra as her return to racing is yet unclear. Gut-Behrami does not compete in that discipline.
Shiffrin injured her knee while landing from a jump and crashed into the safety netting at a downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, 15 days ago.
Other leading giant slalom racers missing were Slovakia's Petra Vlhova and Canada's Valerie Grenier, who both sustained season-ending injuries recently.
In Saturday's race, Bassino showed glimpses of her best as the Italian skier looked for her first podium result of the season.
“It was a solid run. I need the feeling on my skis. I think bib 1 helped me a lot,” she said.
Bassino was the junior world GS champion 10 years ago. She won the World Cup title in the discipline in 2021 but has won just one World Cup race over the last three years.
“It was not an easy period with a lot of mistakes, a lot of up and down. So, I have just to put all the pieces together,” said Bassino, who won the super-G world title in France a year ago.
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