Direz shocks Shiffrin to claim maiden World Cup win in Sestriere

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France's Clara Direz claimed a first World Cup win in the parallel giant slalom in Sestriere

France's Clara Direz won the women's parallel giant slalom in Sestriere on Sunday, eliminating US star Mikaela Shiffrin on the way to her first World Cup victory.

The 24-year-old edged Austria's Elisa Moerzinger by 0.22sec in the final, with Italy's Marta Bassino finishing third in the Italian Alps.

Direz had beaten three-time overall World Cup champion Shiffrin in the earlier rounds. The American finished ninth overall.

It was also a first podium for the French skier whose previous best had been a seventh-place finish in the slalom at Lienz, Austria, in December.

"What a day! It's unbelievable, I didn't expect it," said the skier from the French Alps.

"I didn't know I could be capable of something in parallel GS because it's my first.

"It's pretty outstanding, I'm trying to enjoy the moment right now."

Her only previous win had been a gold medal in the giant slalom at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck.

"(Winning) brings confidence and with confidence you can take more risks when we ski and then we go faster," she said of Sunday's victory.

"I do hope it will help me for my giant slalom."

Moerzinger, 22, also took her first podium competing in just her fifth World Cup race.

Shiffrin suffered more frustration after also finishing third in Saturday's giant slalom just 0.01sec behind Federica Brignone and Petra Vlhova, who shared first place.

The American nevertheless extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings to 249 points ahead of Vlhova, with Brignone 11 points further back in third.

But the two-time Olympic champion was unhappy about the format for the new competition where two skiers compete against each other.

The 24-year-old from Colorado, who is still chasing her first win of 2020, claimed that her red course was slower than the adjacent blue course over the final four gates.

"I don't like to talk about luck playing a role even yesterday, .01 out, I feel like that was in my control," said Shiffrin.

"But these two courses are not the same at all.

"I'm a little bitter, this event is still new and there are so many things to work out," Shiffrin added.

"But it's fun and people like to watch it. It's just a work in progress to make it the best it can be."

The figures backed up Shiffrin's claim with 17 wins on the blue course from the last 16 round compared to three on the red.

But Dinez was not to worried: "I don't know if it's really fair or not.

"I've been lucky because I was always on the blue coures for the last run. I've been a little bit lucky, so I won't complain about that."

For Bassino it was a fourth podium this season, after achieving her first World Cup win the giant slalom in Killington, Vermont in November.

She was followed by fellow Italians Brignone and Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia, fourth and fifth respectively, with Vlhova finishing 18th.

France's Clara Direz claimed a first World Cup win in the parallel giant slalom in Sestriere

World Cup leader Mikaela Shiffrin is waiting for her first win of 2020.