Norway's Kilde crowned alpine skiing champion after World Cup finale scrapped

Aleksander Kilde of Norway competing in the men's giant slalom of the World Cup in Hinterstoder, Austria, on March 2

Norway's Aleksander Kilde won alpine skiing's men's World Cup title after the final races of the season at Kranjska Gora at the weekend were scrapped due to the coronavirus threat, the International Ski Federation said on Thursday.

The ski resort in Slovenia, close to the Italian border, was to host a giant slalom and a slalom on Saturday and Sunday but Kilde clinched his first overall title as the campaign ended early.

"It's unreal, I have to say it. From another side, it's a shame that we couldn't fight it out to the end," Kilde told news agency NTB.

"It was an unique season for me, way above all my expectations. But it's all the same a surprise," he added.

France's Alexis Pinturault claimed second place and Kilde's compatriot Henrik Kristoffersen was third.

"The races in Kranjska Gora will not be replaced on the World Cup calendar and the 2019-2020 season is officially finished," the federation said earlier, citing health concerns for competitors and spectators.

On Wednesday, federation officials scrapped the final three races of the women's season, due to be held in the Swedish resort of Are.

As a result, Italy's Federica Brignone was crowned overall women's champion ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin, who finished second after missing a month of the season following the death of her father.

Ski officials had already cancelled the men's and women's World Cup finals scheduled to take place from March 16-22 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, the country worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Aleksander Kilde of Norway competing in the men's giant slalom of the World Cup in Hinterstoder, Austria, on March 2