Vlhova tops Shiffrin in Are slalom first leg

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Åre (Sweden) (AFP)

Slovakian Petra Vlhova clocked the fastest first run in the two-leg World Cup women's slalom in the Swedish resort of Are on Friday.

Vlhova timed 49.72 seconds, 0.41sec ahead of American rival Mikaela Shiffrin.

Newly-crowned world champion Katharina Liensberger of Austria lies third, at 0.57sec, with the Swiss pair of Wendy Holdener and Michelle Gisin in fourth and fifth.

Vlhova is currently second in the overall World Cup standings, 36 points behind Swiss speed skier Lara Gut-Behrami, who will not compete in the two slaloms scheduled for Are.

Shiffrin, who is a six-time World Cup slalom title winner but is trailing Vlhova by 45 points in the discipline's standings, is seeking what would be a historic victory in Are.

The 25-year-old American has won 45 World Cup slalom events -- already an all-time record among men and women. She needs one more win to equal the record of most World Cup wins in a single discipline: 46 by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark in the giant slalom.

The second leg will be held under floodlights at 1530 GMT.