By Liam Morgan

Alizée Baron sealed her first-ever win with victory in the ski-cross race at the FIS Freestyle World Cup ©FISAlizée Baron of France clinched her maiden career race win as she took victory in the women's ski-cross event at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Freestyle World Cup in Åre, Sweden.

Baron defeated Austrian duo Katrin Ofner and world champion Andrea Limbacher in a fascinating final which saw the lead change hands several times, and even as the race veered towards its climax, the identity of the winner remained unclear.

But, the Frenchwoman managed to accelerate the quickest out of three, taking the outside lane before powering to the finish with both Ofner and Limbacher in hot pursuit.

Her surprise victory came after fastest qualifier and local favourite Anna Holmlund missed a gate in the quarter-final, before the dangerous Fanny Smith of Switzerland surprisingly crashed out during her semi-final.

Baron's compatriot Ophelie David also failed to make the final, which opened up the race and the 22-year-old from Montpellier was able to take full advantage.

Despite her crash, the result saw Smith leapfrog Holmlund at the top of the overall leaderboard but there are just two points separating the two athletes, while Baron is third.

"I don't have a word," a speechless Baron said at the end of the race.

"I just tried to think, 'I'm fast, I'm fast, I'm fast' and stay ahead."

Victor Oehling Norberg continued his imperious form with his third-straight victory in front of his home crowd at Are ©FISVictor Oehling Norberg continued his imperious form with his third-straight victory in front of his home crowd at Are ©FIS

On a dramatic day of action in Åre, Victor Öhling Norberg gave his home crowd something to cheer as he claimed his third straight victory in the men's race ahead of France's Jean Frederic Chapuis, while fellow Swede Michael Forslund took his first-ever podium finish by taking third.

The two teammates were locked in a tense battle throughout the competition, with Forslund even bettering the performance of World Championship bronze medallist Norberg in the quarter-final heat.

In the final, the pair came up against the French duo of Chapuis and Bastien Midol but it was Norberg who surged into what looked like an unassailable lead even at an early stage, before Chapuis fought back and was hot on the Swede's tails.

Chapuis was just a half ski length away from going in front as the race neared its end but Norberg, clearly buoyed by the home support, found an extra gear to earn a narrow win.

"I actually can't put into words this feeling right now," Norberg, a 24-year-old from Tännäs, said.

"In the final I knew I had Chapuis behind me.

"I could feel him right next to me and it's so stressful to have Chapuis behind you because he's a very technical skier, and this is the most technical course I've ever ridden.

"It was stressful but I'm really happy with the result."

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