It was not enough with the gutsy Vlhova producing all her renowned power to increase her lead and pick up her third win over Flachau’s famous rollers.
“I am proud I could beat Mikaela because this season she is really strong and if you want to beat her you need to ski above her and perfect, not good. I guess if you beat Mikaela it means you are really strong,” Vlhova said.
“Today before the second run I knew she was going to be really strong and I was like ‘OK I have to be stronger than her’ and when I crossed the finish line I was full of emotion. We were waiting so long. Of course we wanted to win earlier but it’s not so easy to win. Maybe this is the reason why I was full of emotions in the finish area.”
While they did not get to see the record-setting win they had perhaps expected, the huge crowds made their feelings clear as Vlhova finally stepped back to the top of the podium.
It was not quite to be for Shiffrin, but the woman with a world of expectation on her shoulders does have the consolation of a record in Flachau that now reads: 10 starts, four wins and five podium places.
“I earned a second place and she earned a victory tonight and that was quite a show,” Shiffrin said, dismissing talk of a slight sickness playing any role in her second-place finish.
Although the USA superstar, who came into the race with six wins in her previous seven starts, did cheerfully admit she hadn’t been able to quite find her best.
“It was a little bit difficult this evening to perform top-top but even then I felt some turns I love to feel. Actually when I am even not on my most top form I am still enjoying skiing, so that’s nice.”
Wendy Holdener took fourth place and maintained her second position in the race for the season’s slalom title – albeit a somewhat significant 135 points behind leader Shiffrin.
In a good night for the rising German team Jessica Hilzinger and teenager Emma Aicher joined Duerr in the top 10.
The women’s World Cup tour moves on to St Anton, Switzerland for a downhill and super-G double header, 14-15 January before Shiffrin is likely to resume her search for a magic 83rd World Cup win in Cortina D’Ampezzo, 18-22 January.