Italy's Dominik Paris competes during the men's Combined Downhill event of the 2019 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships.
STOCKHOLM - Italian Dominik Paris put himself in a strong position for a shot at another medal at the World Ski Championships after topping the downhill section of the men's alpine combined event Monday.
Paris stormed to an impressive super-G victory last week and again impressed on the Olympia course, timing 1min 07.27sec down the race track shortened to 1.8km due to wind up top.
Although his last competitive stand-alone slalom dates back to Kitzbuehel in 2013, in which he failed to finish the first run, Paris did enough to manage joint fourth in the last world combined in 2017 alongside Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, third in the downhill here at 0.38sec.
But the 29-year-old Paris faces a test of character, having bombed out of the slalom in last month's Wengen combined and also at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
The Italian will also be up against it as the slalom specialists show their spurs in the technical event, scheduled for 1530 GMT.
Austrian Marco Schwarz, winner of the Wengen combined last month, was just 1.25sec off Paris, and defending world combined champion Luca Aerni of Switzerland was also primed for attack, at 1.23sec.
France's Alexis Pinturault, who claimed Olympic silver last year, left himself with it all to do in the slalom.
'Pintu' could only finish 24th in the downhill at 1.52sec, just behind Victor Muffat-Jeandet, who won bronze in Pyeongchang.
But Pinturault remained positive. "I'm a little off Marco Schwarz and Victor, but my goal was to be in contact," he said.
"Paris has given himself a little lead, but everything remains possible."
Leading the French charge in the downhill was instead Maxence Muzaton, in ninth at 0.72sec.
American Ted Ligety, 2013 combined champion and 2006 Olympic gold medallist in the discipline, had a shocker in the speed event, coming in 41st at 2.57sec, a deficit even the most optimistic of skiers would say was a bridge too far.
But also giving themselves a fighting chance for at least a push for a podium spot were Italian 2014 Olympic bronze medallist Christof Innerhofer, Swiss pair Carlo Janka and Mauro Caviezel, Austrian Romed Baumann and Vincent Kriechmayr, the latter having already won super-G silver and downhill bronze in Are.
In the absence of now-retired Aksel Lund Svindal and the absent Kjetil Jansrud, the best placed Norwegian apart from Kilde was Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, in ninth at 0.67sec.
Austria's reigning Olympic champion and 2015 world gold medallist Marcel Hirscher is not competing in the combined.