Zagreb has hosted World Cup races since 2005 (men’s and ladies’ slalom races). The inaugural winner in the Croatian capital was Tanja Poutiainen, when she won the ladies’ slalom race on 20 January 2005. The first man to win in Zagreb was Mario Matt, winning the men’s slalom in February 2008. Marlies Schild has won a record four World Cup races in Zagreb. Marcel Hirscher follows with three wins. Mikaela Shiffrin and Poutiainen have two wins. Austrian ski racers have won eight World Cup races in Zagreb, four times as many as the next most successful nations (Finland, France and United States each two).
In the last three World Cup slalom races, Shiffrin finished first, ahead of Veronika Velez-Zuzulová in second place and Wendy Holdener in third. Only in the first World Cup slalom race this season in Levi, Petra Vlhová claimed the third spot, trailing Shiffrin (1st) and Velez-Zuzulová (2nd). This is the first time ever in any discipline, for men or women, the podium is exactly the same in three consecutive races (in the same order). The record number of successive races with the same men/women on the podium (random order) within a World Cup discipline is four, set by Ted Ligety, Marcel Hirscher and Alexis Pinturault in giant slalom (2013).
Mikaela Shiffrin can win a World Cup slalom race a record-equalling eighth successive time, equalling Vreni Schneider (1988-1989) and Janica Kostelic (2000-2001). Shiffrin has won the last 12 World Cup slalom races in which she started and 14 of the last 15. The only exception in this run is a thirdplace finish in Flachau in 2015. The last winner of a slalom race besides Shiffrin is Veronika VelezZuzulová when she won in Flachau in January 2016. Shiffrin did not compete in that race due to injury. The last time Shiffrin failed to make the podium in a World Cup slalom race in which she competed was in Åre in December 2014 (fourth). Only Marlies Schild (35) and Vreni Schneider (34) have won more ladies’ World Cup slalom races than Shiffrin (23). At 21 years of age Shiffrin, has won 26 World Cup races in total. Only Annemarie Moser-Pröll (41) and Ingemar Stenmark (27) won more before turning 22. Shiffrin can equal Phil Mahre in third place all-time among U.S. skiers(men and women) by winning her 27th World Cup race. Only Lindsey Vonn (76) and Bode Miller (33) have won more. Shiffrin has won the Zagreb slalom twice and has only won the Åre slalom more often (3 times). 1.25 at Pinnacle to win outright.
Veronika Velez-Zuzulová finished second in the last three World Cup slalom races, in Killington, Sestriere and Semmering. The last woman to record at least four consecutive second places in World Cup slalom races was Janica Kostelic. She claimed four consecutive second places between 23 January 2015 and 22 December 2015. Velez-Zuzulová can become the first woman to finish second in the first four World Cup slalom races of a season. Velez-Zuzulová (13) can equal Pernilla Wiberg (14) in second place among women with most second-place finishes in a World Cup slalom race (14). Only Frida Hansdotter has more second place finishes in this discipline (15). Velez-Zuzulová’s last World Cup victory came in Flachau where she recorded two victories in a row on 12 and 15 January 2016. She can become the second oldest woman to win a World Cup slalom race, following Marlies Schild. Velez-Zuzulová will be 32 years and 172 days on 3 January. Schild was 32 years and 212 days when she won the slalom in Lienz in December 2013. Velez-Zuzulová’s best and only podium finish in Zagreb was a thirdplace finish in 2007/08. Besides that podium finish, she never finished in the top-8 in Zagreb (9 other participations). Currently 8.00 at Bet365 to win the race and 1.83 for the podium finish.
Wendy Holdener finished in second in the World Cup slalom race in Levi, and three times in a row in third place in Killington, Sestriere and Semmering. No woman has ever recorded at least four consecutive third-place finishes in World Cup slalom races. The last woman from Switzerland to win a World Cup slalom race was Marlies Öster in Berchtesgaden in 2002. Holdener has won two World Cup races: the city event in Stockholm in February 2016 and the alpine combined in Lenzerheide last March. Holdener (8) can surpass Sonja Nef (8) in outright third place for most World Cup slalom podium finishes among Swiss women. Only Vreni Schneider (47), Erika Hess (42) and Lise-Marie Morerod (15) claimed more for Switzerland. 12.00 for the outright win and 2.00 for the podium finish at Bet365.
Frida Hansdotter has won three World Cup slalom races in her career and has amassed a record 15 second places among women in this event. Hansdotter could join Mikaela Shiffrin as the only women with a World Cup slalom race win in each of the last four World Cup seasons. 34.00 at Bet365 for the outright win.
Nina Løseth finished fourth in Semmering last week. She also finished fourth in Killington earlier this season and has four top-8 finishes in the four slalom races this season. Løseth has won one World Cup slalom race, in Santa Caterina last season. Løseth claimed her first ever podium finish in this event in Zagreb when she finished third on 4 January 2015. Løseth can equal the Norwegian ladies’ record of two World Cup slalom wins set by Trine Rognmo-Bakke. Currently 21.00 at Bet365 for the outright win.
Betting prediction 1: Veronika Velez Zuzulova podium finish : NO
Odds: 1.83 Bet365
Betting prediction 2 (event match-ups): Lena Duerr vs Katharina Duerr : Lena Duerr
Odds: 1.735 Pinnacle
Betting prediction 2 (event match-ups): Nina Loeseth vs Petra Vlhova : Nina Loeseth
Odds: 1.793 Pinnacle
Previous winter sports betting previews:
Women’s Slalom – Semmering 2016 (3 tips won)
Women’s Giant Slalom – Semmering 2016 (1 tip won)
Men’s Slalom – Madonna di Campiglio 2016 (1 tip lost)
Ski Jumping – WC Ruka 2016 (1 tip won)