The women’s combined launches on Monday in Méribel (Savoie) the fifteen competitions at the Alpine Skiing World Championships, with the American star Mikaela Shiffrin as the immense favorite.
– Holder and favorite: Mikaela Shiffrin –
The 27-year-old American won a super-G and five slaloms this winter. Combination of the two specialties, the combined is an event where she seems untouchable, even if her last attempt, at the Beijing Games in 2022, had been a failure (exit in slalom).
“I have already fulfilled all my objectives at the Worlds in terms of medals”, she assures with her eleven podiums (including six titles) in five participations. With a twelfth medal on Monday, she could equal the total of Norwegian Kjetil Andre Aamodt, in second place in this historic ranking behind the German Christl Cranz (fifteen), champion of the 1930s.
– The absent: Petra Vlhova –
The 27-year-old Slovak, alter ego of Shiffrin, won the combined silver in 2019 in Are (Sweden) and in 2021 in Cortina (Italy). Decreased lately, she decided to skip the combined and the first week of the Worlds to focus on the giant and the slalom at the end of the program.
“We will use this time to prepare physically and technically for the two most important disciplines for us”, explained his Swiss coach Mauro Pini.
Without her, the Swiss Michelle Gisin and Wendy Holdener, first and second at the Beijing Games, are the American’s main competitors.
– The number: 0 –
Like the number of combined contested this season. The International Ski Federation (FIS) has completely abandoned the discipline, which it considers aging and not very telegenic, for two years on the world circuit. She keeps it for the moment during the major championships.
– The French: Romane Miradoli –
“I really like the combined, it will get me started for these Worlds, allow me to set foot on the track”, explained the 28-year-old French versatile, very comfortable in super-G.
“In the combined, the idea is to get as far ahead as possible in super-G and then not to ask too many questions in slalom. I like slalom, it takes energy from me but it brings a plus”, for her who regularly competes in downhill, super-G and giant at international level.
In Beijing, in a combined downhill/slalom format, she had managed a superb downhill (fourth) before going out in slalom, when she was playing the leading roles.
She will be accompanied on Monday by Laura Gauché, eighth at the Olympic Games, Karen Smadja-Clément and Tessa Worley, who will only compete in the super-G round to discover the track.