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Lindsey Vonn Wins First Giant Slalom World Cup In Almost 3 Years

By Associated Press | Dec. 12, 2015, 6:19 p.m. (ET)

Lindsey Vonn takes first place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women's giant slalom on Dec. 12, 2015 in Are, Sweden.

Lindsey Vonn won a World Cup giant slalom in Are, Sweden, on Saturday for her fourth consecutive victory while American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin missed the race following a warmup crash.

While she specializes in the speed events of downhill and super-G, Vonn has now won four giant slaloms in her career -- with two of them coming in Are.

Charging down a shortened course due to strong winds in the opening run, Vonn held on to her lead in the second run amid snowfall and clocked a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 4.70 seconds.

"I love racing here in Are under the lights," Vonn said, having explained earlier that it reminds her of training after school while growing up in Minnesota.

Eva-Maria Brem of Austria finished second, 0.07 seconds behind, and discipline leader Federica Brignone of Italy was third, 0.35 back.

Vonn swept three speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, last weekend.

"I feel really good on my skis and balanced. I have a lot of confidence, especially after Lake Louise," she said. "I said last week if I finish Lake Louise strong that always means good things for the rest of the season."

Shiffrin, the 20-year-old Olympic slalom champion, was taken to a local hospital for exams on her right knee.

"She basically flipped over into the net," Shiffrin's manager Kilian Albrecht told The Associated Press. "She's in the hospital waiting for the MRI which will probably take a while."

Vonn increased her lead over Shiffrin in the overall standings to 104 points. Lara Gut of Switzerland, who finished 13th, is third overall, 122 points back.

Vonn took gold in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and has four overall World Cup titles -- with the last coming in 2011-12.

In the second run, Vonn's lead over Brem was down to just three hundredths at the final interval but her gliding skills paid off over the final gates.

"I tried to be smart on the bottom where it was turny and some of the girls had some trouble," she said. "I think I may have given away too much time there, but still I was attacking the whole time trying to arc and I was fast."

Vonn let out a big celebration, pumping her poles and screaming before kissing her skis.

"The old woman still has some tricks up her sleeve," the 31-year-old Vonn added. "I'm not maybe as agile as I used to be. I'm not maybe as explosive. But at the same time I know my ability and I know what I can do and I know in different situations what is required of me.

"And so I knew today it was going to take two really good, aggressive runs and my experience paid off and I was able to win."

It was the 71st World Cup win of Vonn's career. She broke the previous women's record of 62 wins set by Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell last season and now is taking aim at Ingemark Stenmark's overall mark of 86 victories.

"It's just been a great season so far," said Vonn, who missed the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, in October while recovering from a broken left ankle.

Brignone, who won in Soelden, holds a 28-point lead ahead of Brem in the GS standings.

The surprise of the day belonged to Simone Wild, an 18-year-old from Switzerland, who finished eighth with the No. 45 bib.

Vonn's previous GS win came in Maribor, Slovenia, three seasons ago. She also won in Are at the end of the 2011-12 season.

"I was watching some video from that win last night," Vonn said between runs. "I was hoping to be in the top three but at the same time I knew that if I could arc and ski aggressively that I could win. Because I've done it here before."

Sara Hector of Sweden, the first starter, pulled up midway through her run with an apparent knee injury and was taken down the course on a sled.

While Shiffrin's status was uncertain, Vonn is not planning to enter Sunday's slalom race.

"I'm young enough to ski well in GS but not young enough to still be good in slalom," Vonn said with a laugh.

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