Dominik Paris won his first race since blowing out his knee a year ago, triumphing Friday in the last men's World Cup downhill before the word championships.
The Italian skier trailed Beat Feuz by one-tenth of a second midway through his run but excelled on the bottom part of the Kandahar course to beat his Swiss rival by 0.37 seconds.
Feuz had won the previous two downhills and leads the discipline standings.
Matthias Mayer was 0.40 behind in third, with Austrian teammate Max Franz two-hundredths further back in fourth.
Paris was the 2013 silver medalist in downhill at the worlds and is the defending super-G champion.
He tore ligaments and fractured a bone in his right knee in a crash during downhill training for the Kitzbühel race in January 2020.
His previous best result this season came when he returned to Kitzbühel two weeks ago and finished third.
“Every day was a little bit better. I had more confidence on my skis,” Paris said about his return. “My skiing was every day a little bit better. But I know it takes a lot to be back on the podium and back to doing the victory.”
Friday’s result marked Paris’ 19th career win, and 15th in downhill. Only three racers won more downhills in the 54-history of the World Cup: Franz Klammer (25), Peter Müller (19) and Stephan Eberharter (18).
The race was interrupted several times after crashes, most notably after an accident involving Josef Ferstl.
The German avoided serious injury in a frightening crash after he lost control over his right ski while approaching a jump. Going more than 100 kph (62 mph), Ferstl was airborne with his skis up in the air and landed sideways on the slope before sliding into the safety nets.
Ferstl was briefly attended by medics but got up and skied down to the finish area.
A super-G was initially scheduled for Friday, followed by the downhill the next day, but organizers swapped the program to avoid possible damage to the course before the downhill.
Saturday’s super-G is the final event before the worlds in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, open on Monday.
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