Brignone leads combined at world championships; Shiffrin 0.96 behind


MERIBEL, France — Italian skier Federica Brignone set the fastest time in the super-G portion of the women’s combined event on Monday on the first day of the world championships, edging defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin by nearly a second.

Racing under blue skies, Brignone found the fastest line on the Roc de Fer course by taking a lead of 0.71 seconds over Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, who clocked the same time.

Her Italian teammate Elena Curtoni was 0.78 seconds behind in fourth.

The combined event adds the results of a super-G run and a slalom run.

Shiffrin was sixth fastest and had 0.96 seconds to make up on Brignone in the slalom portion, the American’s strongest discipline.

“I know Federica doesn’t ski slalom a lot, but I know that when she does, she can be very fast. So I don’t know if I can actually make up nine tenths on that,” Shiffrin said. “Those who win a medal are those who have a pretty solid run in both events or a really killer run in at least one event. I think I can do a really good slalom race, so now I’m just focusing on that.

Shiffrin was competing in her first major competition since going medalless in six starts at the Beijing Olympics last year.

“I’m pretty happy with my first run. I felt pretty good with my skiing,” Shiffrin said. “Obviously there are sections where I can ski a lot faster.”

Shiffrin has won six world titles and 11 medals overall in 13 previous world championship appearances.

Swiss skiers Michelle Gisin, who is the Olympic champion, and two-time world champion Wendy Holdener finished more than 1.5 seconds off the top-10 lead.

2019 and 2021 silver medalist Petra Vlhova sat out the race to focus on her main giant slalom and slalom events. The 2021 World Cup world champion from Slovakia has been struggling with health issues in recent weeks.

Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was 1.92 behind, but the Italian sprint specialist used the run as a test for Wednesday’s super-G race. Several other speed specialists will also skip the slalom leg, including two-time downhill world champion llka Stuhec from Slovenia.

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