ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Favorite Marcel Hirscher of Austria provided a spectacular climax to the alpine skiing world championships by storming to victory in the men's slalom on Sunday to claim his second gold medal of the event.
The trophy-laden 27-year-old took his overall world championship tally to six gold medals and nine in total after he also won Friday's giant slalom and finished runner-up in the combined event.
Having led a second successive one-two finish for the Austrians, he was in jovial mood on the podium after compatriot Manuel Feller claimed the silver medal ahead of third-placed German Felix Neureuther.
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"It is perfect; the sun is shining and great conditions today," he told reporters.
"The skiing was pretty good as well and Austria is pretty stoked with another two podiums. Thank you for an amazing crowd, have a nice Sunday and a safe trip home."
Hirscher, whose victory propelled Austria to the top of the medals table with three gold, four silver and two bronze ahead of host nation Switzerland, was candid about what drives him to new heights.
"The young guns are kicking my ass in every training run so am I very thankful for this," said the winner of the last five overall World Cup titles who is in a commanding position to claim a sixth.
"It helps me make improvements in every training run."
Dave Ryding fueled hopes of a first-ever medal for a British man in the world championships after a superb first run left him fourth, but he dropped to 11th after the second.
With ruts appearing around the gates during the second run, most of the top 15 racers struggled on a deteriorating course and Neureuther took advantage after finishing the first leg in 10th position.
His blistering run gave Germany their only medal of the championships, as the likes of Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen and Austrian Michael Matt, who was third after the first run, faltered.
The 24-year old Feller, seventh after the opening run, matched the German's grit and jumped into the driving seat before the majestic Hirscher stormed through a massive 0.68 seconds ahead of his team mate.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)