German Felix Neureuther put a forgettable Olympics behind him, winning the first post-Olympic slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday.
Neureuther clocked a two-run time of 1 minute, 45.50 seconds for his fourth win this season, taking the lead in the World Cup slalom standings by five points with just the World Cup Finals left next Sunday.
Another German, Fritz Dopfer, was second, .59 behind. It marked the first time in World Cup history that German men went one-two in a race. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen took third.
Austrian Olympic champion Mario Matt led after the first run but straddled a gate near the finish in his second run and fell across the line. U.S. Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety was 16th.
Neureuther, 29, got into a car accident on his way to a Munich airport to fly to the Sochi Olympics on Feb. 14. He then performed poorly at the Games, taking eighth in the giant slalom and failing to finish his second slalom run. He had whiplash, rib and back injuries.
“The last weeks were really so hard for me with my car accident and then the Olympics and everything,” Neureuther said Sunday. “Winning after such a tough time for me out here is really something. It’s really amazing.”
The race for the overall World Cup title got a little more interesting Sunday, too.
Austrian Marcel Hirscher was fifth, grabbing 45 points to retake the lead over Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal by four points.
Hirscher is trying to become the third man to win three straight World Cup overall titles and the first since American Phil Mahre from 1981-83.
The title will be decided at the four-race World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, beginning Wednesday. It could be very close given Svindal stars in the speed events downhill and super-G, while Hirscher is a giant slalom and slalom specialist.
Kranjska Gora Slalom
1. Felix Neureuther (GER) 1:45.50
2. Fritz Dopfer (GER) 1:46.09
3. Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) 1:46.29
4. Patrick Thaler (ITA) 1:46.36
5. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 1:46.45
6. Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA) 1:46.64
7. Mattias Hargin (SWE) 1:46.76
8. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 1:46.78
9. Markus Larsson (SWE) 1:46.84
10. Axel Baeck (SWE) 1:47.13
10. Stefano Gross (ITA) 1:47.13
10. Manfred Moelgg (ITA) 1:47.13
16. Ted Ligety (USA) 1:47.54
23. Will Brandenburg (USA) 1:47.99
26. Nolan Kasper (USA) 1:48.11