From 12th to first, Zubcic wins in Japan

A race is never over until the last racer has come down and Filip Zubcic produced a masterclass in attacking from the pack to take the win in Naeba, Japan. Zubcic posted the 12th fastest time on the first run, a run lead by Henrik Kristoffersen, yet did not let the time difference put him off as he stormed to take the win ahead of Marco Odermatt and Tommy Ford.

It has been four years since the World Cup last visited Japan and 56 racers took to the start, this was slightly down on most World Cup Giant Slalom races as many of the rising talents elected to stay in Europe and look for results on the Europa Cup tour. Britain's Charlie Raposo took the time to try and rest his body after a number of niggling injuries had started to get worse.

After the first run it was a Norwegian double leading the race with Henrik Kristoffersen 0.67 ahead of Leif Kristian Nestvold Haugen with Marco Odermatt just behind. Lukas Braathen, the new star of the Norwegian team was in seventh with Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in eighth, making it four Norwegians in the top eight! Kilde started the first GS of the season with 31 courtesy of the 400 point rule yet now is one of the outstanding GS skiers of the season.

Come the second run and it was all about Zubcic's second run. It was an all out attack. When coaches say leave it all on the slope, this is what they mean. This was gutsy, ballsy and every other adjective you can think of. Mistakes happened but he rode them out and kept the speed going. To watch the run click here (Courtesy of FIS).

After posting the fastest time on the second run to take the win, Zubcic reflected: "I am very proud to be the first Croatian man to win a World Cup Giant Slalom race. I was always hoping to win a World Cup race and I knew it could come this season as I have been skiing really fast lately. This victory is for my family and my team, who have been supporting me for the last 21 years!"

While Zubcic benefitted from slightly better snow conditions, Runner-up Marco Odermatt (SUI), third after run 1, was one of the few who managed to stay in the top positions despite the rough course.

Despite having a healthy lead after the first run, Kristoffersen dropped to fifth with a slow second run time. Kristoffersen had still been in the lead at the final split but finished 1.14 off the pace. Nestvold-Haugen took fourth with Kilde making it three Norwegians in the top six with sixth place.

In the race for the Overall and the GS Globe, Zan Kranjec still leads despite finishing ninth but his advantage in the GS Globe race is down to ten points over Kristoffersen. Alexis Pinturault and Filip Zubcic share third place 56 points behind Kranjec.

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