FEB 08, 2021
The World Cup season continues to go very well for the Backland athletes. At the third World Cup in the French village of Flaine they could secure further 3 podiums and 2 more top 10 places. Davide Magnini placed second at the individual race on day one, Daniel Zugg and Ana Alonso Rodriguez also achieved a 2nd place each at the sprint race on day two.
The weather and snow conditions in France were very challenging for the athletes. On the first day wind and low temperatures made the snowpack that had been melting for days beforehand quite rough, whilst on the second day a dense cloud of Sahara dust influenced the race.
At the individual competition it looked as though Davide Magnini would claim victory for a long time. The Italian was always part of the leading group and even took the lead for long phases of the race. Only on the last meters of the home stretch three athletes battled it out for the win and in the end Magnini lost out to his co-national Eydallin in a sprint finish, securing 2nd place. Another great performance at this competition came from Samuel Equy with an 8th place. This is his best performance until now this season and his form is certainly on the up. The 20-year-old Spaniard Albert Perez also showed an excellent performance: with a 3rd place in the Junior category U20 he achieved his first podium in an individual race.
“I had a good feeling from the beginning today and I am happy that I continue to be in good shape. Up until the 3rd uphill I was in the lead almost all the time and during the 2nd half of the race I was level with Thibault Anselmet and Matteo Eydallin. For the last short uphill my skins were too wet maybe I started the sprint finish a bit too early. Still, I managed to leave Thibault behind, but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Matteo.”
On the morning of the second day a cloud of Sahara dust reached the area and painted an unreal picture onto the scenery. However, for the Backland athletes this proved to be a good omen. With the Austrian Daniel Zugg and the Swiss Iwan Arnold two team athletes reached the final having kept their efforts controlled during the qualifying rounds. Zugg sprinted to 2nd place on the podium with an excellent heat. After 2 injuries over the summer he now is back in good shape. Iwan Arnold placed 5th in the final ranking.
“My performance feels unbelievable, even for me, because I started with a mixed bag of emotions. I was fatigued by the training over the past weeks and therefore I had just taken some easy days. I toned down the performance a bit during the qualification round so that I still had room to improve. Despite breaking my shoe during the semi-final, I could finish the race. I am elated to now have achieved all 3 places on the podium and I thank my team-mates for pushing me.”
The women’s sprint race also went very well. The Spaniard Ana Alonso Rodriguez was able to show her talent after perfectly controlled heats. In the final she achieved a 2nd place and thus, a personal best.
“This is my first World Cup podium, a major goal for me that I had always believed in even it seemed a bit away. Everything went smoothly up until the final where I gave everything and passed the finish line in 2nd place. Unbelievable, I am so happy!”
There will now be a 2-week break in the World Cup for the Backland ski runners. After that the last World Cup before the World Championships in Andorra will take place in Val Martello in South Tyrol. The World Championships will take place from the 1st till the 7th March 2021 and will of course be the highlight of the season.