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Daniel Yule goes from 30th to 1st in Alpine skiing World Cup slalom

Swiss slalom specialist Daniel Yule took advantage of a deteriorating course in spring-like conditions Sunday to become the first skier to win a World Cup race from 30th place after the opening run.

Yule had a big mistake in his first run on the Verte course and only narrowly qualified as the last racer, with 1.93 seconds to make up on leader Clement Noel.

Racing in mild temperatures on a weakening course, Yule then benefitted from his early start in the second run by posting the fastest times in all four sections.

Slowed by the worsening course, most racers lost several tenths of their first-run advantage over Yule at every checkpoint and finished well behind. His teammate Loic Meillard came closest, trailing Yule by 0.16 seconds as he improved from fifth to second place.

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First-run leader Noel dropped to third, 0.18 off the lead.

“Absolutely incredible. I got to say, I got really lucky staying 30th after the first run. But then I managed to ski an amazing second run,” Yule said. “Wow, wow, it’s just unbelievable. It was a long way down here but a nice one.”

No skier, male or female, has won a World Cup event before after finishing the opening run in 30th, the last position that allows a racer to start in the second run.

Yule beat the previous best mark set by Lucas Braathen, who went from 29th place to victory at a slalom in Wengen two years ago.

“I had already packed my bags and I was ready to go back to the hotel,” Yule said. “But then I got the opportunity to ski the second run, and I thought: OK, it’s happened before, it’s warm weather, you have a perfect track, we can maybe go and fight for a top 10. But I never dreamed about the win.”

The result denied Olympic champion Noel a first win in more than a year. The Frenchman has 10 career victories but only one since winning Olympic gold in Beijing two years ago.

Noel also led after the opening run of a night slalom at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, last December but ultimately finished runner-up to Marco Schwarz.

That result sent Schwarz top of the overall standings, but the Austrian sustained a season-ending knee injury at a downhill the following week.

Manuel Feller was 0.34 behind in fourth. The Austrian triumphed in three of the seven slaloms so far this season to lead the discipline standings.

Linus Strasser, who won the last two slaloms in Kitzbuehel and Schladming, finished 0.60 behind in 14th.

The slalom in Chamonix, the resort at the base of the Mont Blanc that hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924, was the only World Cup ski race taking place this weekend.

Two men’s downhills in Chamonix and women’s speed races in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, were all canceled amid poor snow conditions.