Alpine Skiing-Vlhova ahead of Shiffrin after first slalom run

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom - Zagreb, Croatia - January 4, 2022 Slovakia's Petra Vlhova in action during her first run REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Petra Vlhova put herself in the driving seat in the women's World Cup slalom in Croatia's capital on Tuesday after winning the first run ahead of rival Mikaela Shiffrin, who returned to action after missing two events following a positive COVID-19 test.

Slovakian Vlhova, who leads the season's slalom standings ahead of second-placed Shiffrin, raced down the course in 55.69 seconds, 0.64 seconds ahead of the American who is aiming to set a record for most wins in any single discipline.

Shiffrin, who is tied on 46 wins with former Swedish men's great Ingemar Stenmark, was the seventh competitor to start on a soft course littered with leaves from nearby trees.

Vlhova produced a flawless run while Shiffrin was set back and lost some of her momentum by a slight error midway through the course which briefly left her on the tails of her skis.

Overall World Cup leader and double Olympic gold medallist Shiffrin missed a giant slalom and a slalom in Lienz on Dec. 28 and 29 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Swiss Wendy Holdener clocked in third, 0.81 seconds behind Vlhova, with fourth-placed Swede Anna Swenn Larsson 0.84 off the pace before the afternoon's second run.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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