Ivica Kostelic took another major step towards alpine skiing's coveted World Cup crystal globe when he claimed his seventh win inside a month on Sunday.
Kostelic's chances of claiming a third consecutive victory in a combined event this season looked compromised when he finished 2.5secs behind Beat Feuz of Switzerland in the downhill section of the two-discipline race.
However the Croatian produced a slalom masterclass on the 'Verte des Houches' run to take the provisional lead, and held on to top spot as a host of potential challengers straddled gates or failed to finish the race.
In a combined time of 2min 57.12sec, Kostelic held off Zrncic-Dim by 0.51sec with speed event specialist Svindal, who took a lead of 2.42 on Kostelic into the slalom, in third at 0.53.
"It's one of the happiest days ever. I secured the globe in the combined, I won the race from a pretty hopeless position and my best friend (Zrncic-Dim) is standing beside me on the podium," said Kostelic, who now has 18 World Cup wins.
"It doesn't get any better than that."
"After the downhill I was pretty disappointed," added the 31-year-old.
"I knew winning would be very hard but also that it's not impossible. I always ski with about 3-5 percent in reserve. Today I just put everything I had into this (slalom) run."
It means Kostelic, the brother of retired alpine legend Janica, is now guaranteed to win the supercombined World Cup title.
Kostelic's win allowed him to pocket 100 points for his overall account, taking his tally to 1178 after 25 of 38 races. Zurbriggen is second on 703.
Despite performing a first ever backflip in the finish area of a World Cup event, Kostelic is not celebrating yet.
"The advantage is substantial, but there's enough races... if someone catches the winning wave, then we'll have a fight at the end," added Kostelic.
"I'm not convinced that the fight is over."
His third place boosted his overall World Cup tally to 663 points, but the Norwegian hinted he will now likely focus on winning more world titles at the championships in Germany in a fortnight.
"(The) overall I think is history. But there's next year and the year after that and I hope to bounce back," said Svindal, who has won the prestigious World Cup overall twice.
"I'm happy with third place, after the downhill today I knew I had a chance to win. Unfortunately my slalom wasn't strong enough.
"But today was an opportunity, and you have to seize these moments when they come."
Zrncic-Dim secured only his fourth World Cup podium, but moved a step closer to a maiden win with a career best second place.
His joy was complete when he stood on the podium with teammate and inspiration Kostelic.
"It's a great day for us, not just for me so I'm really glad the way it worked out," said the slalom specialist who won combined bronze in the last world championships in 2009.
"It's nice that we got to sing our national anthem on the podium together."
Source: AFP Global Edition