Aksel Lund Svindal talks about the weather this week, whether it be cancelling races in Alta Badia in controversial circumstances or making Innsbruck look pretty as Christmas approaches…
December 14, Paganella
I didn’t know anyone had taken a picture of this, but found this on Facebook. [It was Bernardo Fiorini who took the picture.] I have a great bike from Ignazio Moser, a used one that I got from his son who is the same height as me. In Paganella, I met them both for the first time, and they brought me a bike so I could check out the latest version. I took it for a little ride at the top of the mountain. Super light and stiff, even for a guy around 100kg. Riding in ski boots I probably doubled the weight of the equipment.
December 16, Alta Badia
A happy Kjetil [Jansrud] at his first speed event prizegiving… Now he also has to come to prizegivings and bib draws and stuff. That’s good, as I have some company. He also thinks it’s good – except right now, it’s bad timing. He has early access (I’m told…) to the new online Star Wars game, and he needs to “level up”, if that makes any sense… !
December 17, Alta Badia
So after some to-ing and fro-ing, the Downhill race got cancelled today. I haven’t heard the official reason, but I’m guessing it was a mix of safety issues and unfair race conditions. The French weren’t happy with that decision because they had the two fastest guys by then. That’s too bad for them, but they also know it wasn’t a fair race. When a guy like Didier [Cuche] skied, by then there was no chance of being fast. I got a gust of wind at the super-G start, and lost seven-tenths in a few seconds. So to my eyes, the French were not that unlucky today. The real losers in unfair race conditions are the best guys, who can win a race as long as the conditions are more or less the same for everyone. And in this case that was Sweden’s Hans Olsson. Hans won both training runs, and in the last one he crushed everyone by more then one second. It looked like the perfect chance for him to get his first World Cup victory. So when looking at television or reading in the media about this, you might think, “Poor French team, they lost out on the double victory.” But seeing it from the inside, I say, “Sorry, the favourites who can win on a normal day expect nothing more than fair conditions.” Hans was the unlucky one. You’ll get that good result later, Hans.
December 18 – Alta Badia
Sharing a hotel with the Americans here in Alta Badia. Just did some video analysis of today’s Giant Slalom race with Ted [Ligety]. We both got our asses kicked in the second run. Tomorrow, I’m giving Slalom another try. My training this autumn was good, and I really want to get that out in a race. Walking back to my room, I walked by Tommy [Ford] and Thomas [Biesemayer]’s room. Not sure what they’re doing or what they’re watching. Tommy rocking the helmet in bed with headphones on the outside. That’s a new one.
December 19 – Alta Badia
I wrote earlier about how your body is like a fine-tuned machine that needs good food, like race fuel [see Aksel’s post about the Slovenian skiers’ diets here!]. My Audi doesn’t need race fuel, just good, normal diesel – not the kind of crappy junk-food diesel I got at a gas station in Italy. It froze! I hope that’s the only thing that happened, and that it will be back to its normal self once it gets some heat and love through the night…
December 21 – Innsbruck
So, winter finally made it to downtown Innsbruck. The Christmas markets here are really cool in the snow. I’ll see if I can get a pic there later…
All the best,