I managed to secure full marks in Adelboden! Well done – the joy is huge, but actually getting the 200 points was – as so often is – way harder than it appears on TV.
We started on Saturday with a very fast first giant slalom round. Our material selection was not ideal. It did not feel good, the ski didn’t glide as much as I wanted and I could not really attack. We risked more in the second round. We altered the ski boot and used a ski that I only tested twice in training. That could have been a complete flop, but thankfully, it wasn’t.
After a few gates, I realised that my gear was working, so I went for it and started to attack. The best run time in the second round, and ultimately the 0.66 seconds overall lead, brought the first 100 points. Then came a marathon: live interviews, flower ceremony, flash zone (meaning TV and radio interviews that are not live), interview in the VIP tent, press conference and doping checks. I was back in my room at 5pm.
Time was short so I had to make a decision between lunch, physiotherapy, shower, change of clothes and video analysis. What needs doing and what can I drop? I had to be at the awards ceremony for 6.30pm, too. That’s what happens, when you are spoilt for choice. The start number draw for the subsequent slalom race on Sunday took place directly after the awards ceremony. In between further interviews and an award presentation. More on this later. All in all, I was back at the hotel at 8.30pm then dinner, another physiotherapy and off to bed.
Now to the slalom. In the first round, I was lazy and did not really get into the race. I wasn’t surprised. The marathon of tasks the day before was just too much. I need time to recover and refocus, but unfortunately that was not possible this time. However, the time lag of 0.39 seconds was still reasonable and left everything open for the second round. In the second round, I knew that it meant all or nothing and, once more, I felt fit and strong. With a strenuous effort, I was able to get half a second ahead and celebrate my 67th World Cup victory.
What can we take away from Adelboden, apart from 200 points? Nine victories and 16 podiums in one place is obviously a success that no one has ever achieved before, which makes me very happy! But these are things that I can enjoy later. Right now I’m in the middle of a season with the awareness that it’s getting tighter and tighter. Taking it easy doesn’t work anymore. It is a nip and tuck race now as the competition is extremely strong. I have no chance if I don’t give it everything and a little bit more, so we’ll have to prepare well for the next three slalom classics.
Let’s now talk a bit more about the award. On Sunday, Eurosport World declared me Sportsman of the Year 2018. Another big honour, I would like to thank you all for. Nominated were amazing athletes like MARTIN FOURCADE, SIMONE BILES, NOVAK DJOKOVIC, LEWIS HAMILTON and MARC MARQUEZ so winning the award is incredible. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
There’s only one question left to answer: what’s next? Quite simple. First of all taking a break and regeneration – finally! On Wednesday, we will resume the training before we the travel to Wengen on Saturday.