Sixty World Cup victories – that’s a considerable number, which gives me reason to pause for a moment to review what has happened in the last eight years. A thousand impressions come to my mind and above all great thankfulness.
I am grateful for all the people who have supported me on my way to this point and I am very aware that I would not have made it without them. My family, my team and many more. Then, of course, I’m grateful that I am and always have been healthy and did not miss a single race in the years I have been competing in the World Cup. But I’m not going to rest on my laurels – I mean I won’t rest on feeling chuffed about it all for too long 😉
We are at the beginning of a new long and intense season. Until Christmas alone, we will have four more races ahead of us! It means giving everything to get the best out of it. The victory at the Val d’Isere GS was a very good start into this hot phase! Not least, because with 1.18 seconds, I was able to get a respectable lead over runner-up Henrik. How can this be explained?
Quite simple: I have managed two good runs. Especially in the first round, I managed to have a relatively good run. To be honest, nobody was feeling really good on Saturday in Val d’Isere. These were extremely difficult conditions and a tough fight for all athletes, from the first goal to the finish line. Henrik had an extremely strong second run, but he made a few unfortunate mistakes in the first run – and you pay for it straight away in this sport.
Apart from my win at the GS, my personal highlight in France was the comeback of Felix Neureuther. It was amazing when I came to the hotel and saw him sitting there. He is back again! Of course, he still needs some time to regain his old strength with the handicap on his hand. If you’re out of luck, bad luck often comes along but Felix, I’m sure, will come back and will then soon be back for the win!
The cancellation of the slalom race on Sunday was completely justified in my eyes. However, there is hardly a minute to breathe and pause despite the cancellation. Next weekend, there will be two races in Italy’s Alta Badia with GS and Parallel-GS. Of course I compete in both races, but all insiders know that I’m not one of the favourites in the parallel event. It’s about damage limitation and about taking a few points anyway.
In order to implement this in Alta Badia, we now have a break for two or three days. This is followed by two or three training days on the Reiteralm. On Saturday we will be driving to Alta Badia, and home on Monday night. Then in the run-up to Christmas everything comes thick and fast: training on Wednesday on the Reiteralm and arrival to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, where on Thursday, December 20 the giant slalom from Sölden will be happening. Friday sees a break of training and arrival to Madonna di Campiglio, where on Saturday the last slalom before Christmas will take place. That’s what I call pre-Christmas stress 😉 Until then.