JAN 07, 2020
The kickoff to this season’s Skimountaineering World Cup took place in Aussois in the French national park Vanoise. The Backland athletes were able to deliver outstanding performances, above all Iwan Arnold, who celebrated a victory in the Sprint competition and Junior Paul Verbnjak, who left the event with two second places.
Already the first stop of the World Cup, with difficult weather conditions, provided for the Atomic athletes a reason to celebrate. In the Sprint race, the Swiss athlete Iwan Arnold was able to win the competition in a cool and calculated manner. A sensational 5th place by the Spanish Ana Alonso Rodriguez and an 8th rank of Austria’s Daniel Zugg completed a successful Sprint event.
In the Individual race, the Italian athlete Davide Magnini missed the podium by 6 seconds. Also, the races in the youth categories found an extremely pleasing end: The 18-year-old Austrian Paul Verbnjak was able to place second in the Individual race as well as in the following day’s Sprint race, so he left France being the interim leader in the Overall Juniors’ World Cup.
The Swiss veteran benefitted from his experience and power already in the first race of the new season and reached the top of the podium cleverly making use of his abilities. “It was somewhat difficult to start into the new Sprint season, because I didn’t know where I was standing. But I was able to draw my tactics through and to improve continuously. In the semi-final I had a very good run and then I was sure I am still able to be fast. Even so, I didn’t think that it would be enough for the victory.”
For the strong Italian, the signs pointed to a podium ranking for most of the competition. Unfortunately, in the second half of the race, there were some problems on the course: “After the second uphill, I was clearly in the lead, but because of the wind, there was a lot of snow in the track, so the chasers could close the gap. Later, I had bad luck again, when one of the marshals instructed me wrongly. In the last transition, I still fought for the podium; unfortunately, I messed it up.”
The 18-year-old young talent delivered proof of his strength in the Junior categories and left France with two second places in both races of the weekend: „In the Individual race, I was on a par with the winner, but he outpaced me when we left the last transition zone. In the Sprint race, I had some problems in the qualification. But then, in the head-to-head runs, I put all my eggs into one basket and the two transitions turned out well. I couldn’t catch up with the leader, but I was able to place second.” The Atomic Backland Crew will be back at the World Cup in Andorra with maximum motivation. In the meantime, some athletes from the Atomic sports-family will be participating at the traditional “Mountain Attack” in Saalbach/Austria on the 17th of January 2020 to fight for glory.