Kneller, 23, made it through to the consolation final, rewarding the Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport skier with seventh place overall.
The event was won by Switzerland’s Alex Fiva, who captured his third World Cup victory, while German Daniel Bohnacker and Swede Victor Oehling Norberg took second and third.
Kneller’s teammates Anton Grimus and Katya Crema also qualified successfully for the final rounds of head-to-head competition.
Kneller’s result drew praise from AIS ski cross program head coach Matt Lyons, who firmly believes that Kneller’s dedicated approach to training all year has repaid the winner of this event in 2010 with the best form of his career.
Kneller missed most of last World Cup season with a hand injury and since has committed himself to a demanding fitness program to not only get back into competition but also to take his skiing to a new high, to achieve his goal of competing strongly at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which is a little more than a year away.
“I think Scott is skiing better than before he injured his hand,” Lyons said.
“He was skiing pretty well that year but now he’s stronger and more consistent.
“I put this improvement down to hard work. Plus he’s also more experienced, which accounts for a lot in this sport.
“You can see the importance of experience with the new-comers that don’t make it through some of their rounds.
“You learn things in a head-to-head environment.”
Kneller earned his spot in the knock out rounds with the 10th fastest time in qualifying, his best qualifying result in the four World Cup rounds this season.
Kneller won his round of 32 and was second to Bohnacker in the quarters, which advanced the Australian to the semis.
After starting well and challenging for the lead in his semi, Kneller took the less-than-perfect line through a turn about half way through the race and slipped back to third across the line.
In the consolation final to decide placings fifth through eighth, Kneller suffered a similar fate but the result was nonetheless encouraging for the rest of the season. Kneller moves to a world ranking of 11th.
Kneller’s fellow AIS / NSWIS teammate Anton Grimus also enjoyed a solid performance, finishing in 16th after a second place in his first knock out round and making it through to the quarter finals. Grimus is now ranked 7th after four events.
AIS / NSWIS scholarship holder Katya Crema is another of the squad who is skiing better than before.
Crema’s 10th place in Italy today continues a definite improvement this season, and like Kneller and Grimus, Lyons believes that basic hard work is the reason.
Unfortunately Australians Jenny Owens and Sami Kennedy-Sim failed to qualify for the knock out rounds, finishing in 17th and 23rd, although both showed signs that improvement to their seasons is about to happen.
The women’s event was won by World Champion Kelsey Serwa from Canada, ahead of compatriot Georgia Simmerling in second.
Switzerland’s Katrin Mueller was awarded the bronze medal after French woman Ophelie David, who crossed the line in third, was controversially disqualified from the final for her involvement in a race incident involving Mueller.
The Australian ski cross squad next competes in the French resort of Les Contamines on January 12.