INTERVIEW WITH IVICA KOSTELIĆ
It's good that the first race is not far off now. There is of course always something special about the first competition. You don't know at the time exactly where you stand. But it's the first opportunity to race against the others and therefore very important! Especially with a view to the following races. It's good for preparations and I know afterwards which areas I still have to work on.
What have you been working on so far, have you had any special preparations for Sölden?
We had two days of training in Sölden, like most of the other teams. It was good there, the slope hasn't changed in any major way. Sure it's tough, but I favour the technically challenging hills anyway. We'll be staying in Hintertux now until Wednesday and then travel on to Sölden from there so we might be able to squeeze in another day's training.
What expectations do you have?
It's difficult to say. I'd certainly be satisfied with a top-20 finish.
The trigger for your overall World Cup victory last season came relatively late in January. Do you have similar plans for this season?
Talking in terms of 'plans' wouldn't be quite right here. Because you're either in good form or you aren't. I always give what I can; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I had surgery in spring and couldn't ski until July, unlike other years. Perhaps my form will come even later this time.
So your summer training different to usual. Do you think you can make up for the days you missed on the snow with your experience?
Experience is without doubt important. For me though I need the gates to be really good. This is why I've tried to make up lost ground with intensive fitness training.
Does such a versatile World Cup winner who can be at the top in all disciplines still have any room for improvement?
Of course! You can continue to learn especially from the experience you have and also improve on technique. I see this as the key component, especially in Downhill and Giant Slalom. They may be small steps every year that I take, but they're very important steps!
What are your goals for the new season?
I'd like to stay at the top. Plus I'd like to improve in Downhill and GS!
Will this be possible despite your operation in March – fortunately you don't have any problems with it any more, do you?
My knee is perfectly OK. If I manage to stay fit and healthy then there is no reason why I shouldn't have a successful season!
Many thanks and all the best for Sölden!