(CNN) -- Switzerland's Didier Cuche claimed the first men's gold medal in the alpine skiing world championships in Val d'Isere with victory in Wednesday's super-G.
Cuche's previous best in a major event was silver at the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998.
The 34-year-old veteran powered down the Bellevarde course at the French resort in one minute 19.41 seconds for his first victory at world or Olympic championships.
In-form Italian Peter Fill finished second, 0.99 seconds adrift with Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal taking the bronze medal.
Cuche, the reigning World Cup downhill champion, mastered the testing conditions which undid many of the favorites including American Bode Miller, who finished over two seconds down after a costly mistake.
Early starter Cristof Innerhofer completed a good day for Italy by claiming fourth after leading for much of the competition.
But down came Cuche to shatter his gold medal dreams and finally top the podium, 11 years after claiming silver in the super-G at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
Cuche has been in excellent form in 2007 and 2008 to cement his position as Switzerland's leading skier, but teammate Didier Defago won the downhills at Wengen and Kitzbuehel last month to emerge as a domestic rival.
Defago finished eighth in the super-G which was the second event of the 12-day championships.
American ace Lindsey Vonn won the women's equivalent on Tuesday as she chases medals in all five disciplines.
The championships continue on Friday with a women's super-combined with World Cup leader Vonn in action again.