The speed riders are usually slowly approaching the pace – with training sessions before the descents at Lake Louise. Since the foreign races were canceled due to Corona, there will be two World Cup Super G’s at the weekend in St. Louis. Moritz is a cold start for Nicole Schmidhofer and Co. Difficulty could wait because of the expected amount of fresh snow. The defender of the ball is local Swiss hero Corinne Suter, who earned both speed scores last season.
The Austrians surrendered their dominance of speed last winter. In the downhill classification, Stephanie Venier was best in seventh place, followed by Nina Ortlieb (8th) and Nicole Schmidhofer (9th). Things were looking better in the Super-G with Schmidhofer third, Venier fifth and Ortlieb sixth. This was a bit of a consolation for Schmidhofer, as she led a triple downhill victory ahead of Venier and Ramona Siebenhofer in the previous season and second in the Super-G ball fight.
“I want to be in the lead again, we’ve all trained to win races. For me, the goal is to race around the ball for as long as possible and be in the top three. If we were as strong as a team again , that would be cool, because it was an incredibly relaxed atmosphere. It was a bit lost at the end of the season, “Schmidhofer recalled. The Austrians also fought a flu epidemic within their own ranks. This year the invisible enemy is called Corona – Schmidhofer, Venier and Mirjam Puchner survived the infection well, Tamara Tippler is still struggling with the result.
There have been no international training comparisons this year, even for Christian Mitter, ÖSV’s director of women’s racing, it is “very difficult to assess”. In preparation, the number of ski days was maximized, 15 to 20 percent more practiced on both planks. One focus was also on the giant slalom, the foundation of speed contests.
Mitter was satisfied with the development. Looks good, injuries were largely saved, the returners also presented themselves well. “Now we hope that dynamics develop in the team” and that internal competition increases among the “15, 16 World Cup” athletes and we push each other. In the Super-G Ortlieb defeated Austria in La Thuile in 2019/20, she is missing at St. Moritz due to a minor knee injury, and a second place to Schmidhofer at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Schmidhofer won World Cup gold at Super-G in St. Moritz in 2017, but on a different path. “I’m really happy that things are starting up again. The only question mark for me is how do I arrive over the weekend, I’m either consistently fast or slow at training. Every trip is a bit of a surprise. ” Sometimes there are very fast bends, says the Styrian, but sometimes everything is too beautiful and round, sometimes too straight.
She also does not have the usual approach to the border at Lake Louise. “I’ve known for a long time that the first run counts this year. Maybe on Saturday I’ll be assembling the run for the first time, which I’ve been looking for all autumn.” She hopes she can make up for something with the experience. Weather conditions can be difficult, waiting times have to be planned. It’s unclear whether delaying racing until the start of the week would be possible.
Venier and St. Moritz won silver at the Downhill World Championships in 2017. Due to his coronary illness, he misses ski days and fitness training: “But for the one and a half minutes I stand by it and give it full throttle and trust my ability. ” Puchner has mixed memories: she celebrated her first World Cup victory there in 2016, and in 2017 her shin and fibula were crushed in a fall during World Cup training. “That was with me until last season, but with the last operation I finished with it. I had the plate and screw in again in March so the bone grew together. Everything fit now. I think I’m in a good mood. “
Siebenhofer switched from the speed group to WC3, where the giant slalom plays a big role. “There has been a bit more progress in terms of material and technology, I’m confident about the races.” He also worked a lot in the mental area in order to stay cool on the slopes in the future and to trust what he can do.
Because you could not compete with other nations in training, the advance speculation is eliminated. “The surprise effect on the finish is higher,” says Siebenhofer. U.S. senior chant Mikaela Shiffrin skipped the races at St. Moritz because speed training was not possible for her yet.