Zubcic topples Faivre in second run of giant slalom

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Filip Zubcic heading for victory in the giant slalom in Bansko

Croatian Filip Zubcic delivered in the second run of the giant slalom in Bansko, Bulgaria, on Saturday to deprive Frenchman Mathieu Faivre of a World Cup win to follow his world title.

On a very demanding course, Faivre who won two golds at the world championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo including the giant slalom, led Zubcic by 0.11 seconds after the first run.

Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, who leads the World Cup standings in the event, was third.

Zubcic made up the time on the second run to finish with a combined time of 2min 20.62sec, 0.40s ahead of Faivre, who gained his first World Cup podium finish since a giant slalom in Soelden in October 2019.

"It was a fight from start to finish. I skied very well in the most difficult part", said Zubcic.

Austrian Stefan Brennsteiner jumped to third on the second run, 0.93sec behind the winner, for his first World Cup podium finish at the age of 29.

Pinturault lost a pole at the start of the second run but clung to fourth almost half a second ahead of Marco Odermatt of Switzerland, one of his main rivals for the season title in the discipline.

"The poles: it is not for nothing that we have two of them, I use them a lot for the support in the turns, it helps us to refine, to be more precise, on the right line," Pinturault said. "I tried to forget, to stay concentrated as much as possible. I limited my losses."

Pinturault leads the race for the giant slalom title by 22 points from Zubcic with Odermatt a further 23 points further back in third. In the battle for the overall title, the Frenchman increased his lead over Odermatt to 230 points.

They will resume battle on Sunday in a second giant slalom in the Bulgarian resort.

rg/dif/pb/nr