JAN 29, 2019
Great sporting events in Garmisch! Despite “hot competition” from the racing in Kitzbühel, this weekend it was the Atomic speed ladies who delivered the magic and emotional moments. 42 years after the Atomic skier of the century, Annemarie Moser-Pröll won the Downhill here, Stephanie Venier, the Redster race lady, broke the spell on the Austrians here in Garmisch and won again. With her very first win in the World Cup after a mega season. And just before the World Championships it was great to see Sofia Goggia back at the start after a complicated broken ankle. She came, took a look and came second twice - what a dream comeback! The wacky insider story behind it: whilst Sofia Goggia was out of action due to injury, an Atomic specialist team was busy putting her Redster speed skis into action, as if she had been racing herself. And the crazy thing: her equipment was at the races in North America without her … The
The whole skiing world thinks the smart lady from Tyrol deserves it! She’s had an amazing season since the World Cup opening. Ironically, in Garmisch, where bizarrely no female Austrian has won the World Cup Downhill since the legendary Annemarie Moser-Pröll here 42 years ago, Stephanie Venier, the Redster lady, celebrated her first World Cup win in her career. And as she said just over the finishing line, the feeling is exactly just like her team colleagues told her: “It can’t be described in words”.
But that’s not necessary as Stephanie’s smiling face told the whole picture!
SOFIA’S DREAM COMEBACK AND WHO LOOKED AFTER HER SKIS
And that’s also true for Atomic speed queen Sofia Goggia. Due to a complicated broken ankle she couldn’t train properly for three months. Only recently she got back on snow again and demonstrated on an extremely difficult slope in Garmisch (icy, difficult and dangerous) what a dream comeback looks like. She came back, started and came in second twice in the Super G and Downhill. That also fascinates her Atomic team boss Christian Höflehner: “I’m just lost for words. Everyone saw that Sofia raced carefully in both races not risking too much. At the end of January she practically came back without any training, and then came second twice, that’s a statement.”
How’s that possible? Höflehner: “In the speed disciplines Sofia is an exceptional athlete. Just like Mikaela Shiffrin in the Slalom and Giant Slalom. Then there’s also an insider story as far as Sofia’s material is concerned…” What’s that? Well, whilst Sofia was out due to her injury, a complete team including her service man Federico Brunelli and our Atomic speed test team made sure for months, that all her skis were constantly on the snow. That they were being skied, waxed, tuned, as if Sofia had been at the starts as normal. Her equipment was even in North America for three weeks without Sofia, only with her service man Federico and our test experts, even though naturally she wasn’t at the start.”
SPEED SKIS NEED TO BE “IN ACTION” – THAT’S THE ONLY WAY THEY’LL GO FAST
It sounds absurd but what sounds so metaphysical, is actually really simple: speed skis only become really fast after numerous speed races and the right preparation. The Atomic Race Manager: “The difference to Slalom and GS skis where new models are permanently being sent to the racers (sometimes overnight) is that you can’t win any races with completely new Downhill skis straight off the ski press. They need to be raced, waxed, brushed, scraped, again and again; this routine ensures that speed skis are then ready to race. And so Sofia, who was out of action even before the start of the season, didn’t have to start from zero, her Redster equipment was being used, as if she had started every race as usual. A crazy expense, which paid off, as her dream comeback shows.”
THE HAPPIEST MOMENTS FROM KITZBÜHEL
A moment of happiness was Marcel Hirscher’s pleasure at 2nd place on the Ganslernhang. “2nd place is a superb performance. Especially when Marcel delivers such a superb run as he did in the second one. And that the first runs in Wengen and Kitzbühel weren’t so easy and that Marcel after switching his material nearly turned around the races and won them. These wins are becoming more and more valuable, less of a given and that’s good for everyone” says Christian Höflehner. Someone who pleased him in Kitzbühel was the Atomic future star Daniel Danklmaier: “He’s won the European Cup Downhill and confirmed with his 5th place in the World Cup that he is ready! I’m going to stick my neck out: Daniel is a winner, someone who doesn’t just want to finish somewhere between 10th and 20th place forever.” Just like Marco Schwarz who came 5th in the Slalom, with two very respectable runs not quite racing on the edge. And due to some minor errors Adrian Smiseth Sejersted narrowly missed a place on the podium, but he is, just like Mauro Caviezel just lying in wait for that absolute top place.
The last races before the Ski World Championships in Aare: Hirscher, Schwarz, Feller and co. are ready for the next race on home soil at the night race in Schladming on Tuesday. Followed by Garmisch next weekend (Downhill and GS), whilst the Ladies are competing for the technical disciplines in Maribor (Slovenia).