Filip Zubcic's fine giant slalom form continued with a gutsy World Cup gold in tough conditions in Santa Catarina.
The Croatian missed out on the discipline's Crystal Globe by 26 points last season and a second run charge to victory confirmed he will contend once again.
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"It feels amazing," said the 27-year-old.
"Last season was the best season of my life, so I was hoping I would stay in the same direction. I did it again here.
"The slope was really difficult with the snow, but it was really good and I've had a lot of training in conditions like these - for me it felt normal.
"I'm a really strong skier, I have a lot of power and that's why when conditions are tough, I can ski fast. It was real winter heavy, the weather was perfect."
Zubcic finished on the giant slalom podium three times in 2019-20 - his first three World Cup medals - and became the third man from the small alpine nation to win gold in Naeba, Japan in February.
Zubcic made use of a low bib number and the best of piste conditions, holding his starting place of sixth with a 1:05.03 at the first time of asking.
Clear leader at the flip was Slovenia's Zan Kranjec, a patient and powerful first run of 1:04.34 putting him nearly half a second ahead of young Swiss Marco Odermatt.
Second run efforts were six or seven seconds slower for the entire field as heavy snowfall and poor visibility imperilled fast skiing.
Image credit: Eurosport
Zubcic was late to a gate in the middle section of the course but green-lighted throughout to clock 1:10.03 and produce a winning time of 2:15.06.
Kranjec's second run of 1:10.84 was only enough for silver, 0.12 behind the Croatian, while Odermatt held on for bronze ahead of France's Loic Meillard.
"My goal is always to be on the top," said Zubcic, with the third of ten giant slalom World Cup stops following tomorrow in Italy.
"I will try and keep going like I am and fight for podiums, always."
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