Wengen (Switzerland) (AFP) - American Ted Ligety said he had "rounded the corner" with his World Cup super-combined victory on Friday, setting him on course for his three-medal target at the Sochi Olympics.
A strong start to the season had tailed off with a raft of unfinished races due to what Ligety dubbed "horrible, horrible luck".
But the 29-year-old, a four-time World Cup giant slalom champion who took last year's World Ski Championships by storm with a three-gold showing, never doubted he was skiing well, and importantly, fast.
"Winning the super-combined here is definitely a nice little confidence boost and step in right direction for getting ready for Sochi," he said.
"I've never put together the runs I needed to win a World Cup in combined so it's nice to finally get that and do it in a place like Wengen is the ideal place to get a super-combined victory.
"It's definitely the most valuable World Cup super-combined out there for sure. It's definitely a big victory for me because I haven't been able to do it before."
Ligety, the 2006 Olympic and 2013 world gold medallist in the discipline, clocked a combined total of 2min 44.74sec over a slalom and downhill, finishing 0.22sec ahead of France's Alexis Pinturault, with Croatia's Natko Zrncic-Dim in third (+1.08sec).
"I've had some horrible, horrible luck this year," he said. "It's been a tough January, I haven't finished any of the slaloms either so it's nice to round the corner and get a good race under my belt.
"It's nice to get the winning feeling again, and it's especially cool to get that winning feeling in an event other than the giant slalom.
"To know I can actually win on the World Cup in another event besides giant slalom is definitely a good feeling."
Turning to next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ligety was in no doubt that he could challenge in the three disciplines he won gold in during last year's worlds in Schladming.
"My goal in Sochi is to win three medals. I think it's going to be extremely difficult to win three golds," the Park City racer said.
"The main goal is definitely the giant slalom - that's my best event and that's the event I feel I have the best chance of winning in.
"But also I know I have good chances after Schladming of competing well in the combined and super-G as well. Those are my focuses.
"I think it's going to be difficult to repeat what I did in Schladming - that was the dream two weeks, but I still believe I can medal in those other events. I'm looking forward to that challenge."
Second-placed Pinturault, who had been leading after the slalom, said it was a tough discipline that needed more exposure.
"They (FIS) either focus more on this discipline or decide to stop it, because organising two or three events a season encourages the better combined skiers to do it and the lesser ones not to do it," he said.
"Competition is sparser among the top 30 than in the other disciplines."
Zrncic-Dim agreed, saying: "Super-combined is a great event and I think we should do more of it because it's really tough to go for a downhill and slalom. It's one discipline that means something in history.
"But with only one race in the season, that's not the way it should go. Five races a season made sense."
The Croat was delighted with his third place, after a long comeback from injury.
"For me to be on the podium here is like a victory," he said.