February 22, 2020 – For the first time in seven years, Croatia has booked the first place spot in the World Cup thanks to the brilliant rally of alpine skier Filip Zubcic. Ivica Kostelic was the last to do so in Kranjska Gora in 2013.
Namely, 24 Sata reports that Filip Zubcic won the giant slalom at the Naeba Ski Resort in Japan after an impressive second run in which he left Marc Odermatt 0.74 hundredths behind in second.
For the first time in his career, Zubcic started from a high 13th position on a very difficult track. The almost summer-like conditions distracted Zubcic in the first run, where he made an error, but still managed 12th place (1:18.21), 1.58 behind first. Only then did Filip gain momentum.
The warm conditions continued in the second run, though Zubcic flew down the slope like never before. He hit every mark on time, locked in a quick speed, and with a significant advantage, took first place and the best time into the finish line (1:19.04).
The last few skiers had over a second advantage over Filip, but he rode so wisely that they did not stand a chance. Moreover, the conditions were even worse during the second run. The last skier to try to bring him down was Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who had a 1.58 advantage, and eventually lost it all to trail 1.14. Second place went to Marco Odermatt, who was 0.74 hundredth behind Zubcic, and third to Tommy Ford (+1.07).
For Zubcic, this is by far the biggest success of his career after coming second in Adelboden and fourth in Garmisch. Croatia also had not seen the first place in the World Cup since 2013 when Ivica Kostelic won in Kranjska Gora!
Filip is also third overall in the giant slalom, just 50 points behind Slovenian Jean Kranjec. By the end of the season, there are three more races left, and the crystal globe trophy is not so far out of reach. Given his incredible form recently and the downfall of some of his competitors, we hope to see the globe in Filip’s hands at the end of the season.
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