Dominik Paris announced himself as a serious contender for the upcoming world championships with victory in the men's downhill World Cup event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday.
The 31-year-old Italian collected his 15th downhill win, and 19th World Cup victory in any discipline, by edging out the Swiss Beat Feuz by 0.37sec with the Austrian Matthias Mayer just another 0.03sec back.
It was Paris' first win since tearing a knee ligament during a Super-G training session in January 2020.
"We are fighting to come back," he told German television ZDF.
"We do not know what level we will come back at and it is great to be on the top step of the podium."
Already world champion in Super-G (2019), Paris also won the small Super-G globe the same year.
But this was his first win on the World Cup circuit since Bormio, in December 2019.
After winning both of the downhills in Kitzbuehel, Feuz was chasing a hat-trick until a couple of small mistakes put him second, still good enough for the 51st podium of his World Cup career.
"I am happy to be on the podium, even if I did not win a third race in a row," Feuz told specialist ski site Skiactu.ch.
"It did not matter much. I can consider myself a little lucky to be second."
It was a fifth consecutive podium for Mayer who has only finished out of the top 10 in a speed race once this season.
The race was interrupted twice as the German Josef Ferstl and Frenchman Brice Roger both slid off the tricky "Kandahar" piste and into the safety nets.
Beat leads the discipline standings with 406 points, ahead of Mayer (358) and Paris (288).
The men will race a Super-G in Garmisch on Saturday before moving to the world championships which start in Cortina, Italy, on Monday.