October 18, 2020 – On Sunday, in Soelden, Austria, the best Croatian skier Filip Zubcic kicked off his new World Cup season in the giant slalom, a discipline in which he achieved his first victory last season and finished third in the overall standings.
Going into Sunday’s performance, Zubcic was second in the FIS giant slalom rankings, behind Frenchman Alexis Pinturault. The 27-year-old from Zagreb said on Saturday he is ready for the traditional opening of the season in Soelden, where he made his debut in the World Cup eight years ago.
“We are expecting a slightly different opening of the season because there will be no audience, no fans. I feel great, I ski well, I believe I am in solid shape, and I can’t wait for the season to start,” said Zubcic ahead of his 105th appearance in World Cup races.
The Zagreb native shone in the second half of last season, before it was interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, when he climbed the podium three times, winning second place in the giant slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland and Hinterstoder, Austria, and achieving his first victory in Naeba, Japan.
Thanks to these results, Filip was third among the giant slalom skiers at the end of the season with 368 points and in the fight for the small crystal globe, and with 475 points, he was 14th in the standings for the big crystal globe.
Reaching full competitive maturity, Zubcic enters this season as one of the favorites for a high place in giant slalom races. He will be able to continue to prove his ski versatility in slalom.
So far, performances in Soelden have not been too lucky for Zubcic because he was only once in the second run and among the points winners. In 2015, he finished in 12th place. He failed to qualify for the second run three times, and twice he was left without a place in the first, which was the case last season.
But now, he will also have the advantage of a better starting number, as he would start among the top seven.
“As for my goals, I would like to ski as well as possible in both runs, without calculations. I think that then the result will not be missed,” concluded the best Croatian skier.
The first giant slalom run in Soelden was held at 10 am on Sunday, in which Zubcic was solid.
Namely, the Croatian skier is currently 78 hundredths of a second behind the currently leading Swiss Gino Caviezel, who achieved a time of 1:08.13 with the starting number 12. For a long time, the leader was Slovenian Žan Kranjec, who had the first starting number and achieved a time of 1:08.19.
Croatia’s best skier started well and was four-hundredths better than Kranjec in the first pass, but by the second pass, he lost his rhythm and was 1.18 seconds behind. He finally managed to accelerate and finished the first run with 72 hundredths of a second behind Kranjec.
Last season’s big Crystal Globe winner Alexander Aamodt Kilde failed to finish the first run.
The second run is scheduled at 1:15 pm. You can watch the broadcast on HRT 2.
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