17-year-old New Zealand sensation Alice Robinson stole the show at today’s Audi FIS World Cup 2019/20 opening race in Soelden as she edged defending Overall World Cup winner Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) by 0.06 seconds to claim her first-ever World Cup win. She is also the youngest winner in Sölden ever.Teenage skier charmed the alpine world last year when at the Season Finals in Soldeu Grandvalira she claimed a second-place finish, behind Shiffrin, after earning the qualification spot for the Finals as the Junior World Champion.
"You could see it already last year that she is going t be a really strong skier", said a complimentary Shiffrin after the race. "I really like the way she skis and I think it’s exciting that she won today".
The World Junior Giant Slalom Champion picked up in Soelden right where she left off last year in Soldeu, skiing nearly flawlessly under perfect conditions and blue skies.
The New Zealander herself was clearly emotional after today’s win saying through tears, "It’s like a dream for me and I’m still in shock. To be honest, I won by such a small margin against Mikaela, I still feel really lucky to stand here".
Already in the first run, Robinson was challenging Shiffrin. She was the only one who managed to stay within striking distance, ending only 0.14 behind the American ski star.
Tessa Worley (FRA) rounded out the podium taking third place 0.36 seconds off the pace thanks to a strong second run that saw her improve three places to get on the podium. Aside from Mikaela Shiffrin, she is the only other woman to come within a half-second of Robinson’s total time.
Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg, who started at the back of the pack, wearing bib 58, was able to break into the top 30 on her first run. She then laid down the fast second run time of the day and finished in sixth place – her career-best.
It was nearly a dream start to the season for the women’s Audi FIS World Cup. The only dark spot came in the second run when Bernadette Schild (AUT) had to be airlifted off the course after a crash. The diagnosis revealed an ACL tear in her right knee, which means the premature season ending for the tech specialist.