Marco Schwarz admits the slippery slalom conditions were a challenge but he still managed to stun Alexis Pinturault and complete a thrilling Austrian hat-trick at the Alpine World Ski Championships.
Vincent Kriechmayr had already claimed gold in the Downhill and Super-G events in Cortina d'Ampezzo and Schwarz, the planet's premier slalom skier, capped a brilliant treble by just 0.04s in the Alpine combined.
The 2018 Winter Olympic silver medallist delivered a searing second run to shock French favourite Pinturault and scoop his fourth World Championship medal.
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Swiss skier Loic Meillard was third on the Italian slopes and a relieved Schwarz, 25, said: "Super-G was pretty fun, I did a great job with three-tenths behind.
"Slalom was a little bit tricky, it was very icy, but it was fun too. So all in all, it was a good day for me.
"I'm really happy to go home with a gold medal now.
"It's also a great start for me, I have a few more races, so I'm looking forward."
Schwarz and Pinturault, the 2019 Alpine combined world champion, became locked in a breathless battle for gold after Canada's James Crawford had clocked the fastest run in the super-G.
Schwarz's time of 1:20.35 left him in third while Pinturault, 29, stopped the clock 0.32s faster than the Austrian to sit second heading into the slalom.
That left Schwarz with a mountain to climb but a brilliant second run of 45.51s catapulted him into contention and leapfrogged Crawford.
Pinturault could only muster a time of 45.87s and that meant Schwarz, chasing his maiden World Championship gold medal, reigned supreme by the barest of margins.
Crawford's slalom time of 47.24s saw him miss out on the podium to Meillard by 0.21s, while German Simon Jocher finished fifth.
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