ARE, Sweden — Wendy Holdener put herself in position to retain her Alpine combined title at the skiing world championships on Friday after finishing 0.42 seconds off the lead following the downhill run.
The Swiss racer’s strength in the slalom, which serves as the second leg of the combined, left her as the favourite even though she was in fifth place.
Ramona Siebenhofer was fastest and led Ilka Stuhec by 0.01 seconds, with Ragnhild Mowinckel a further 0.05 behind in third place. All three skiers favour the downhill, however, with Stuhec the world champion in that discipline and Siebenhofer coming off back-to-back wins in World Cup downhills last month in Cortina.
Petra Vlhova is likely the biggest threat to Holdener going into the slalom leg, which is scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m. (1515 GMT). Vlhova, a slalom specialist from Slovakia, was tied for eighth place, 0.30 seconds behind Holdener.
Lindsey Vonn took part in the downhill run and had the same time as Vlhova. Vonn, who was sporting a shiner below her right eye as a result of her crash in the super-G on Tuesday, was using it as a training run for the final race of her career — the downhill on Sunday — and will be sitting out the slalom leg.
American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the super-G, is also skipping the combined to save energy for the slalom and giant slalom.
Corinne Suter, who was third in the super-G on Tuesday, was in fourth place, 0.34 seconds behind Siebenhofer.
The winner of the event is determined by adding the times from one high-speed downhill run and one shorter slalom leg.