Filip Zubčić claimed the second FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race win of his career in Santa Caterina ©Getty Images

Croatia’s Filip Zubčić produced a fearless final run in heavy snow to win the first men’s giant slalom race at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup event in Santa Caterina in Italy.

Zubčić was sitting in sixth place after his first run, 0.7sec behind leader Žan Kranjec of Slovenia, before roaring back in the second to clock a winning combined time of 2min 15.06sec.

Kranjec was beaten by 0.12 as he had to settle for second, while Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt was 0.30 further back in third.

It was Zubčić’s second World Cup victory of his career following his triumph in Yuzawa Naeba in Japan last season and his fourth podium.

"The slope was really difficult," said the 27-year-old, as reported by NBC Sports.

"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."

Loïc Meillard of Switzerland was fourth while France’s Alexis Pinturault also secured a place in the top five.

Filip Zubčić battled through heavy snow to win the men's giant slalom race in Santa Caterina ©Getty Images
Filip Zubčić battled through heavy snow to win the men's giant slalom race in Santa Caterina ©Getty Images

Pinturault remains the overall World Cup leader on 195 points largely thanks to his parallel giant slalom triumph in Lech-Zürs last week, while Zubčić’s victory sees him climb to second on 148.

Odermatt’s second podium of the season keeps him in the top three, and he has overtaken Lucas Braathen at the top of the giant slalom standings.

A total of 69 athletes from 21 countries entered the race in Santa Caterina, with 28 completing both runs.

A second giant slalom race is set to follow tomorrow.

Santa Caterina stepped in to stage the third and fourth legs of the men's FIS Alpine Ski World Cup after they were moved from Val-d'Isère in France due to a lack of snow.

The Italian resort had not held a men's World Cup leg since the 2016-2017 season.