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Shiffrin confirms return to World Cup skiing this week

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Paris (AFP)

Mikaela Shiffrin confirmed on Wednesday her return to World Cup alpine skiing for the season's final event in Sweden this week after a lengthy absence following the death of her father.

The three-times overall World Cup winner, who will turn 25 on Friday and last competed in Bansko, Bulgaria, in late January, said that she would be back in Are for what are the last races of the season after the finals in Italy were shelved.

"Are has held a special place in my heart since the beginning of my career, and it feels like the right place to rejoin my World Cup family and try to race again," she tweeted.

Shiffrin's father Jeff died aged 65 after an accident at home in Vail, Colorado on February 2.

At the top of the overall World Cup standings at the end of January, Shiffrin has since been leapfrogged by Italian Federica Brignone, who has a 153-point lead over the American.

Only the three races in Are remain this season following the cancellation of this month's World Cup finals in Cortina d'Ampezzo because of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 631 people in Italy.

A rusty Shiffrin will be hard pressed to overtake the Italian although she will always be a threat in Thursday's parallel slalom, Friday's giant slalom and the slalom on Saturday.

Shiffrin herself cautioned against high expectations.

"I still have no real goals or expectations," she said. "I just would like to try and race again before the end of the season."

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