Marco Schwarz edged to the top of the overall men’s World Cup standings as he won Friday’s Madonna di Campiglio slalom.
Austria’s Schwarz came back from sixth following the first run in the Dolomites, clocking a combined time of one minute, 40.51 seconds to nudge Frenchman Clement Noel down to second.
Schwarz’s first win of the campaign also moved him top of the slalom standings on 140 points.
“Winning here is one of the best Christmas gifts I could have given myself,” said Schwarz.
The 28-year-old leads compatriot Manuel Feller, who finished fifth on Friday, by 35 points in the slalom standings.
In the overall standings, Schwarz, who also has three second places this season, jumped eight points ahead of Marco Odermatt who did not take part in Friday’s race.
Schwarz said at the start of the season that he intended to challenge Odermatt for the overall title by taking on both the speed and technical disciplines throughout the campaign.
That will be a gruelling schedule but necessary if he is to have any chance of beating Marc Odermatt, World Cup champion in the past two years.
“Taking part in all the races is a lot of work and fatigue,” Schwarz said.
“But I enjoy skiing, and that helps.”
Olympic slalom champion Noel was 0.25sec behind Schwarz after being fastest in the first session, with Briton Dave Ryding 0.39sec off the pace in third.
“I’m happy with the podium,” Noel said. “I’m happy to put two good runs down. (Schwarz) was a little better than me so we’ll try to do even better next time.”
The men’s season continues next Thursday and Friday with downhill and super-G races at Bormio.