As is tradition, the new season of the Alpine Ski World Cup opens on the 17th and 18th of October with the men's and women's Giant Slalom events in Sölden. Due to Corona, however, it will be an exceptional winter. A total of 39 men's and 35 women's events are scheduled, headlined by the World Championship in Cortina d'Ampezzo in February. The HEAD World Cup Rebels want to show right from the start that the path to victory can again only lead through them this season.
Double victory for Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre, fourth place for Tommy Ford, fifth place for Ted Ligety. This dazzling result demonstrated the strength of the HEAD World Cup Rebels at the opening in Sölden last year. "Celebrating a double victory last season of course places Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre among the big favourites this year," says HEAD Racing Director Rainer Salzgeber. "Pinturault is fit and on top form, and the comparisons with other athletes also make me feel very positive. Faivre is also looking good. Tommy Ford has problems with his back, but we are hoping things will work out by the time the season starts. The athletes from the USA have had particularly challenging training conditions due to Corona. They might need a few more days to adjust to the snow in Sölden."
Pinturault: "I haven't skied very often so far this year"
"I'm feeling really good. But I haven't skied very often so far this year, so it's possible that I won't yet be 100 percent fit in Sölden. We've decided to go ahead anyway, because we have plenty of time after Sölden. Of course I want to ski as fast as I can for the opening, and I will do my very best", explains Alexis Pinturault. "There were many things about training in summer that were different from usual, but it still went very well. It wasn't so bad after all that we didn't have to travel to the Southern Hemisphere."
Faivre: "In Sölden I just want to ski well"
His team-mate Mathieu Faivre says about the opening race: "I feel very well and am looking forward to the new season, although I'm a bit nervous because I haven't competed in a race for eight months. Apart from missing the training camp in Ushuaia, I was able to complete most of my normal training program over the summer. In Sölden I just want to ski well, and see how that turns out."
Wendy Holdener - HEAD's best Giant Slalom athlete
Franziska Gritsch from Austria finished in seventh place in the women's event in Sölden, followed by Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland in eighth place. "Throughout the season, our best athlete in the Giant Slalom was Wendy Holdener. Following her injury, it could still be a close call for her starting in Sölden. I am hoping that local hero Franziska Gritsch can continue her performance from last year. I am not expecting the same level from the women as from the men, but I am expecting them to notch up one or two good results too," emphasises Rainer Salzgeber.
Holdener: "It is still unclear whether I will be competing in Sölden"
"I'm feeling okay so far. My doctor and physiotherapist are very satisfied with my progress. I am not in pain and so things are looking good. But a fracture, like any injury, requires patience," says Wendy Holdener. "Summer training was good. It was different from previous years because we only trained in Zermatt and Saas-Fee and did not fly abroad. I'm not thinking ahead to Sölden just yet, because it's not clear if I'll actually be competing."