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Croatian Zubcic tops giant slalom for first career win

Croatia's Filip Zubcic came from far behind to claim his first alpine skiing World Cup win in a giant slalom race in Japan held in testing conditions on Saturday.

Croatia’s Filip Zubcic came from far behind to claim his first alpine skiing World Cup win in a giant slalom race in Japan held in testing conditions on Saturday.

Zubcic rose from 12th after the first run to the top of the podium in a combined 2 minutes 37.25 seconds in Yuzawa Naeba. His previous best was second in Adelboden last month.

Swiss Marco Odermatt trailed by .74 of a second in second place, and American Tommy Ford was third, 1.07 seconds back, in soft and windy conditions.

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen had led after the first round but lost more than two seconds on Zubcic in the second as he faded to fifth, just one place ahead of team-mate and overall World Cup title rival Alexander Aamdo Kilde.

Kilde remains top overall with 1,022 points, 74 ahead of Kristoffersen and 124 clear of Frenchman Alexis Pinturault who was 15th on the day.

Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec placed ninth Saturday as he retained first place in the giant slalom standings. But Kristoffersen is just 10 points behind, while Zubcic and Pinturault are joint third with a deficit of 56 points.

The men were originally to have two weekends in Asia but a downhill and super-g in Yanqing, China, set for last weekend, were cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. The races were held in Austria instead.

A slalom is scheduled for Sunday at the Japanese venue.

Later Saturday, the women have a second downhill in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

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