Alexis Pinturault lived up to his billing as Alpine Skiing's premier combined competitor with victory in Thursday's meeting in Santa Caterina.
The Frenchman was the champion in this discipline in the 2016 World Cup, and he picked up where he left off in northern Italy.
With this triumph, Pinturault became the first man to win three combined races in a row since Ivica Kostelic, who won four between 2010 and 2011.
Pinturault was third after the opening super-G run, 0.84 seconds behind leader Aleksandar Kilde, with Marcel Hirscher in second place.
But Pinturault completed the best slalom run, recording a time of 46.22secs, to top the podium and get his combined title defence off to the perfect start.
Hirscher was 0.39secs slower in the slalom to finish second, 0.34secs adrift overall, while Kilde (+1.13secs) took third place after he could only manage 13th fastest in the second run.