Worley takes giant slalom title, Italians sweep podium

Tessa Worley, pictured in February 2017, became the first French woman to win a World Cup title in any discipline since 2003

France's Tessa Worley clinched the World Cup women's giant slalom season crown Sunday while Federica Brignone won the last race of the campaign in the discipline, leading an Italian podium sweep.

Worley became the first French woman to win a World Cup title in any discipline since 2003, taking the first season globe trophy of her 10-season career.

"This winter has really been a dream come true," said Worley, who won the world championships title in the giant slalom at Saint Moritz last month. "It's unbelievable."

Brignone took the final race win of the season in a combined two-run time of 1:58.01 with Sofia Goggia second in 1:59.45 and Marta Bassino third, another ,03 back.

"This is so great," Brignone said. "I always love to be on a podium with a teammate and today with two it was amazing.

"I just tried to attack all I had. I knew it was bumpy and it was not easy. I was confident. I knew what I had to do."

Worley was fifth in 1:59.84, one spot and 0.31 of a second in front of American Mikaela Shiffrin, the only person who could have denied her the World Cup giant slalom title.

"I'm not very satisfied," Shiffrin said. "I had some very good turns but I didn't have enough aggression to take it."

Sweden's Andre Myhrer won the World Cup Final men's slalom for the second year in a row, taking the season's final race in 1:27.97 with Germany's Felix Neureuther second, .14 back, and Austrian Michael Matt third, another .01 adrift.

"It's amazing to have this finish to the season. It's great motivation to get into the gym. I have a lot of work to do before I can ski next season," Myhrer said after his first race win of a season nagged by back issues.

Austria's Marcel Hirscher, who had already clinched the men's overall, slalom and giant slalom World Cup season titles, was fourth in 1:28.29. He won Saturday's giant slalom for his sixth race victory of the season.

Hirscher won a sixth consecutive World Cup overall crown this season as well as his fourth giant slalom title in six campaigns and his fourth slalom trophy in five seasons.

"It means a lot to me for sure. It was one of the greatest season's I've ever had," Hirscher said. "All in all it makes it a perfect year."

- 'Nice, smooth and safe' -

Worley finished on 685 points, 85 ahead of Shiffrin for the season in giant slalom. For the title to have gone to Shiffrin, who captured the overall and slalom World Cup crowns, she would have had to win while Worley finished 13th or worse.

"My strategy was to do what I knew to do," Worley said. "I was skiing this winter with nice, smooth and safe skiing and i just wanted to do the same thing.

"I was skiing well. I didn't want to hold back. That's when you can have regrets. (On the last run) I was telling myself to keep it smooth and try to go as fast as I can."

Worley won her second world championships giant slalom title last month at St. Moritz, where her euphoric celebration remains one of the abiding images of the tournament.

"I've been through hard moments but I never let down," Worley said. "I always wanted to work hard and get better. That was really a fight against myself, to start over every day and get better and better."

Shiffrin was second after the first run in 1:00.50 but .94 of a second behind leader Brignone with Worley sixth on 1:01.01.

In the second run, Worley completed the course in 58.83 seconds to ensure her season crown.

Shiffrin finished on 1,643 overall points, 318 ahead of runner-up Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.

"Overall, it has been incredible and it's sort of sad that it's over," Shiffrin said.