Superb Shiffrin triumphs on return from injury


Mikaela Shiffrin made a remarkable return to FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup action, winning the slalom in Crans-Montana in her first race since coming back from a knee ligament injury sustained in December.

Reigning Olympic and world slalom champion Shiffrin had not competed since crashing while practicing ahead of the giant slalom event in Are, Sweden.

The 20-year-old was back to her best in Switzerland, where soft snow conditions had caused the cancellation of the downhill event at the weekend, producing the fastest first run time of 42.83 seconds.

Shiffrin beat slalom rankings leader Frida Hansdotter by 0.27secs, with Veronika Velez Zuzulova and Sarka Strachova third and fourth respectively.

Conditions deteriorated for the late runners ahead of their second venture down the slope as snowfall increased, and Hansdotter (sixth), Strachova (seventh) and Velez Zuzulova (10th) missed out on podium places.

However, Shiffrin was unfazed by the issue and held on to her lead, beating France's Nastasia Noens - fifth fastest the first time out - by 0.45secs to claim a sixth consecutive slalom victory in a record that stretches back to last season.

Marie-Michele Gagnon finished in third for a first podium appearance in the discipline since March 2012.

Victory sent Shiffrin up to sixth in the slalom rankings, closing the gap to Hansdotter at the summit to 245 points.