Alpine Skiing

Croatian Filip Zubcic wins giant slalom World Cup in extreme snow in Santa Caterina

Zubcic went from 6th to 1st in Santa Caterina Valfurva in Italy, Zan Kranjec finished second and Marco Odermatt third

By Ken Browne ·

Filip Zubcic put down a brave second run on Saturday in difficult conditions to win the second men's giant slalom World Cup of the 2020/21 alpine skiing season in the Italian Alps.

Sixth after the first run, Zubcic attacked on Run 2 clocking 1 minute 10.03 seconds for 2:15.06 overall, finishing 0.12s faster than Slovenian Zan Kranjec with Swiss skier Marco Odermatt third.

Kranjec led going into the final run, but seemed nevertheless delighted with his second place. Odermatt managed to secure his second podium finish in two races.

This was a second career win for Zubcic after triumphing in the Japan GS in February.

With heavy snow falling and covering the kinks and divets, making the slope softer, slippier and ever more difficult to judge, it was impossible to call before Run 2.

Loic Meillard was fourth after Run 1 and stayed there after Run 2, +0.66 off the winning time.

Alexis Pinturault started well on his second go but a poor second half on the slope left 'Pintuperman' off the podium. The Frenchman finished fifth, but stays top of the overall World Cup standings with 195 points.

After 10 DNF's on the first run, Manuel Feller and Stefan Luitz, crashed out on the second.

Norway's Lucas Braathen had a bit of a come-down after winning his first World Cup in Soelden, the 20-year-old struggled in the soft snow, finishing 12th overall.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde ended his day in 9th, the reigning Crystal Globe holder improved after crashing out in Soelden.

Canadian Erik Read laid down the fastest run in the second leg, lifting him from 23rd to 10th place.

An incredible time considering the conditions, course workers had cleared the slope of up to 80 centimeters (31 inches) of fresh snow during the night.

A big contrast to Val d'Isere in France where the event was originally set to take place, but moved to Italy because of a lack of snow in the French resort.

Run 1: Early starters benefit

The first run was a real challenge with snow falling progressively heavier, favouring the early starters.

Slovenian Kranjec started fifth and sat in the king's chair until the end of Run 1 clocking 1:04.34, the fastest of the morning.

Overmatt, second place in Soelden's season opener, was also second after Run 1 in Santa Caterina, just +0.46s off Kranjec's time with Pinturault third (+0.48), and Meillard also within touching distance just 0.01 behind Pintauralt.

Fine first runs from the USA's Tommy Ford (+0.60) and Croatian Zubcic (+0.69) kept them in the conversation too before the final run.

But times got slower as the run went on, the snow thickening and visibility growing more and more difficult.

Braathen struggled in the soft snow finishing 2.14s off Kranjec's time on his first run, placing 19th.

And it was worse news still for Swiss giant slalom specialist Gino Caviezel who was on the podium in third in Soelden. He lost an edge and crashed out. His weekend was over halfway through Run 1.

Caviezel, Kjetil Jansrud and Kristoffer Jakobsen were just some of the names among the ten DNF's.

There was better news for Kilde and double Olympic champion Ted Ligety who both crashed out on Run 1 in Soelden, Kilde was in 7th after the first descent, clocking 1:05.38, +1.04 behind the leader.

Ligety was in 19th after Run 1 and stayed there after the second go.