Filip Zubcic dominates final run to win World Cup giant slalom

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SANTA CATERINA VALFURVA, Italy — Used to training in bad weather, Filip Zubcic felt comfortable racing in dense snowfall in the Italian Alps on Saturday to win his second World Cup race.

Defying flat light, the Croatian skier had a blistering second run to edge half-time leader Zan Kranjec and win a giant slalom on the Deborah Compagnoni course.

Zubcic was almost seven-tenths off the lead after the opening run but posted the second-fastest time in the final and beat Kranjec by 0.12 seconds.

“The slope was really difficult,” Zubcic said. ”(It’s) snowing, but I skied really good. I had a lot of trainings in conditions like these so for me it was quite normal. I am a really strong skier, I have the power and that’s why when the conditions are tough, I can ski really fast.”

Swiss duo Marco Odermatt and Loic Meillard finished third and fourth, respectively.

Overall World Cup leader Alexis Pinturault was eight-tenths off the lead in fifth, followed by American racer Tommy Ford in sixth.

Competing on the World Cup for eight years, Zubcic failed to land a podium result until he came runner-up to Kranjec in the classic GS in Adelboden, Switzerland, in January 2020.

The following month he triumphed in Naeba, Japan, before ending the season with another second place in Hinterstoder, Austria, in March.

“Last season was the best season I ever had, so I was hoping that I will stay in the same direction,” said Zubcic, adding that his previous win also came in difficult circumstances.

“Naeba was also tough. It was completely different, as it was much warmer and it was like spring snow,” he said. “But today was real winter, I mean, the weather was beautiful.”

The Norwegian team struggled with the challenging conditions.

Defending overall champion Alexander Aamodt Kilde finished 1.31 behind in ninth; Lucas Braathen was 1.86 behind in 12th; and GS world champion Henrik Kristoffersen placed 22nd after he only just avoided a crash in his second run.

The 20-year-old Braathen became the youngest winner of a World Cup race in six years when he won the season-opening GS in Soelden in October.

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

Course workers cleared the slope of up to 31 inches of fresh snow during the night.

The event was moved from Val d’Isere because of a lack of snow in the French resort.

On the women’s circuit, heavy snowfall and strong winds in St. Moritz forced the cancellation of super-Gs scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

Another men’s GS is scheduled for Sunday (full TV/live stream schedule here).

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2022 Ironman Kona World Championships results

Ironman Kona World Championships

2022 Ironman Kona World Championship top-10 results and notables (full, searchable pro and age group results are here) …

Pro Women
1. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) — 8:33:46
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR) — 8:41:37
3. Anne Haug (GER) — 8:42:22
4. Laura Philipp (GER) — 8:50:31
5. Lisa Norden (SWE) — 8:54:43
6. Fenella Langridge (GBR) — 8:56:26
7. Sarah Crowley (AUS) — 9:01:58
8. Daniela Ryf (SUI) — 9:02:26
9. Skye Moench (USA) — 9:04:31
10. Laura Siddall (GBR) — 9:07:49
16. Heather Jackson (USA) — 9:22:17
DNF. Sarah True (USA)

Pro Men
Race is on Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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Chelsea Sodaro wins Ironman Kona World Championship, ends American drought

Chelsea Sodaro

Chelsea Sodaro was the surprise winner of the Ironman Kona World Championships women’s race, ending the longest American victory drought in the event’s 44-year history.

Sodaro, a 33-year-old mom to an 18-month-old, prevailed in an unofficial 8 hours, 33 minutes, 46 seconds on Hawaii’s Big Island.

“My mind is a little bit blown right now,” she said in a finish area interview 25 minutes later, standing next to her daughter, Skylar. “This is the culmination of things being right in my life and having perspective. … This is freakin’ incredible, but the greatest gift at the end of the finish line is my little 18-month-old.”

Sodaro was in fifth place after the 2.6-mile swim and 112-mile bike, then recorded one of the fastest 26.2-mile marathon runs in event history (2:51:45) to win by 7 minutes, 50 seconds over Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.

Swiss Daniela Ryf, who was eyeing her sixth Ironman world title, led after the bike but faded quickly on the run.

MORE: Ironman Kona Race Results

Sodaro, whose lone previous full Ironman was a second-place finish at June’s European Championships (reportedly in the second-fastest Ironman distance debut in history), became the first American to win in Kona since Tim DeBoom in 2002 and the first American to win the women’s race since Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser in 1996.

She is the first woman or man to win in their Kona debut since Brit Chrissie Wellington took the first of her four titles in 2007.

Sodaro (née Reilly) was an All-America runner at Cal, then placed 19th in the 10,000m at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

She turned to triathlon in 2017, made podiums on the World Cup circuit (just below the top-level World Series for Olympic hopefuls) and moved up to long-distance racing in 2018.

At the half Ironman distance, she was fourth at the 2019 World Championships, her last major championship start before the pandemic, pregnancy, childbirth and a move up to the full Ironman this year.

“I’m pretty stoked that I think I maybe get to take the rest of the year off and be a mom for a month or so,” Sodaro said.

The pro men’s race is Saturday, live on Peacock at 12 p.m. ET.

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