By Associated Press - Saturday, December 12, 2020

COURCHEVEL, France (AP) - Marta Bassino won her second straight World Cup giant slalom of the season on Saturday, and Mikaela Shiffrin placed fourth in her return to the event after an 11-month gap.

Bassino produced the fastest second-run time after trailing world champion Petra Vlhova the first time down in the morning.

The Italian racer finished 0.46 ahead of hard-charging Sara Hector, and 0.59 clear of Vlhova whose three-race winning streak was ended.

Shiffrin had been third-fastest in the morning and was again quick in the top sections before losing time in the lower part of a course slowed by steady falling snow. She finished 1.70 behind Bassino.

The American star skied straight out of the finish area without looking back at the big screen broadcasting her run. There were no fans at the race in the upscale French Alps resort.

Shiffrin, the 2018 Olympic champion in giant slalom, last raced the event in the World Cup in January. That was just before the death of her father and the spreading coronavirus pandemic which ended the season early.

A back injury forced her to skip the season-opening giant slalom won by Bassino at Soelden, Austria, in October.

Vlhova won all three races since - two slaloms at Levi, Finland, where Shiffrin returned to competition, and a parallel racing event at Lech, Austria.

The Slovakian racer has a clear lead in the early season overall standings over Bassino. World Cup defending champion Federica Brignone placed fifth on Saturday.

A second giant slalom is scheduled Sunday at Courchevel, where Shiffrin won in 2017 and 2018.


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