CORTINA AND KITZBÜHEL – HOSP (AUT), SCHMIDHOFER (AUT) AND THALER (ITA) SHINE WITH OLYMPICS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
The men and women who make up our Fischer racing family had plenty to do last weekend. The ladies faced nothing short of a marathon speed programme with two Super Gs and two Downhills while the men were up against tough weather conditions on the Streif in Kitzbühel. Nevertheless, our athletes demonstrated once again what they have in them, with the Olympics just around the corner. The lucky ones this time were Nicole Hosp (AUT), Nicole Schmidhofer (AUT) and Patrick Thaler (ITA).
The Fischer ski family celebrated a fantastic start to the long racing weekend in the Super G in Cortina d'Ampezzo on Thursday with Nicole Hosp clinching an excellent third place. Hosp was satisfied – but more would have been possible: "The run was quite good, but not perfect." If you are wondering why things are going so well for the all-rounder in the speed events right now, the answer lies in her summer preparation: "The new trainer team changed quite a few things which really helped me a lot. And to put it simply, my equipment set-up is very good, too."
South Tyrolean Johanna Schnarf (ITA) also took many people by surprise with a top-10 place. With bib number 29 she was the only athlete who managed to finish with a top result with such a high bib number.
Nicole Schmidhofer showed what she is capable of on Friday in the first of the two World Cup Downhill races. Schmidhofer made another step in the right direction for a ticket to Sochi thanks to third place. "It seems as if I have a hidden talent for creating big challenges for our coaches in the run-up to major events." It was only last year that the Styrian racer earned a place in the team for the home WCH in Schladming with her first podium finish as second-placed in the Super G in Cortina.
The men also kept pace with the women. In the World Cup Slalom on the Ganslern slope in Kitzbühel (which was brought forward from Sunday to Friday) the experienced 35-year-old racer Patrick Thaler (ITA) finished in third place. The Italian was in sixth place after the first run. "An awesome experience for me," said the Fischer athlete after the floodlit première in front of a crowd of around 20,000 people in the mecca of skiing.
20-year-old rookie Daniel Yule (SUI) also put in an outstanding performance which took many by surprise. The Swiss racer underscored his talent in impressive style, climbing from 30th to seventh place in the second run. Thanks to the fastest time in the second run he was even in the lead until the ninth-placed skier after the first leg started out in the second. Following such a performance, Yule can without doubt now have his sights set on preparing for the Olympic Slalom. Seeing as Kitzbühel was the last Slalom before the deadline for announcing the squad, the coaches will have noted that he is a force to be reckoned with.