Final Training Day as viewed by the Athletes

Today Gardena-Gröden hosted the second and last training run for Saturday's Downhill. This is what the skiers had to say:

Christof Innerhofer: The course is totally different from years past. (Italian)  
On the Saslong 2010: “I enjoy it here much more than in the past. The course has totally changed. It is icier, wavier, the jumps go longer and this has turned into a beautiful, real downhill. If conditions remain unchanged, it could be a meaningful training run. But if even the slightest amount of snow falls, than conditions will totally change.”
On his mastering of the Ciaslat: “I have no idea how I skied so well. I had a long jump right before the entry and took three turns very fast which is why I came at Ciaslat at such high speed.”
On his health: “I am having a lot of fun skiing, feel well and am healthy. I am also much more laid back and don’t get worked up as easily. Physically I also feel much better and the equipment runs fast. I have already proven that I can ski fast and this has boosted my self confidence. I’m also convinced that I can ski again good results. To win will be very difficult so I’d rather not even think about it.”

Michael Walchhofer: I can’t wait to race the Downhill  (German)
On his run: “I was a little too laid back yesterday, skiing almost passively over the Ciaslat meadow. Today I wanted to be more aggressive and it looks like I succeeded. The training run was overall all right.”

On his reserves: “It’s always hard to know what other athletes have up their sleeves. I easened up at the end and think that left me with a few more reserves for the next two days. Also our equipment choices aren’t optimal yet, but I think this applies to many of us.”

On the Saslong 2010: “Gardena-Gröden is a dream downhill. It just fits me to the tee and I usually ski fast here. I can’t wait to race the Downhill. Looks like the weather should be good as well. I hope that I will be as thrilled at the Finish tomorrow.”

On the Super-G: “The course should be to my liking, but somehow I won the Super-G only once and don’t even place within the top otherwise. I never really skied that fast, but hopefully that is about to change this year.”

Werner Heel: My hand injury slows me down in each race (Italian)
On his run: “It has gone well. I did not expect the course to be as fast and hope that it will be even faster in the race. I have made a few mistakes and will spend time this afternoon to analyze it all again. I’d rather it didn’t snow before Saturday.”

On his current form: “I am not in top form. I have injured my hand and it slows me down in each race. But now I feel better and I also don’t have to take pain medicine any more. All the missed summer trainings are noticeable now. It was partly my fault that I didn’t work as hard to adapt to my new skis. We have picked a new, finer ski for the tomorrow’s Super-G. We hope to be able to finish our new Downhill ski for Bormio.”

Andreas Sander: Placing in the top 30 would be awesome (German)
On the situation of the German team: “We skied for eliminations today. Three Germans raced today and only the fastest will compete on Saturday. Which means I had to push really hard, the others probably skied a little easier today. I know now, that I can ski fast if all things align. I don’t feel any pressure but I also have to stay firmly grounded. Placing in the top 30 would be awesome.”

On his result: “I obviously hoped to ski fast but this is a total surprise. You could have told me at the Finish that I had a slow race and I would have believed you. This happens often. You don’t have that great feeling but you just ski fast. Placing within 30 to 35 with a delay of 2 to 2.5 seconds would be totally fine with me. This is my first Downhill race this season and I only trained Downhill for the Europacup. I’ve trained in the summer and it all went well but you never know where you stand.”

On Max Rauffer’s victory in Gardena-Gröden in 2004: “I’ve followed it on TV and I think it will be a few more years until another German athlete will win here on the Saslong. My hopes are for a top 30 ranking.”

Manuel Osborne-Paradis
About this year´s race: "The course is a bit faster and I am skiing well enough. It’s anybody’s game tomorrow and on Saturday, all is very tight. Hopefully we can achieve at least podium or even a victory."

About experience. "Experience is important in all the races. Cuche is going at a 100 per cent at every first training run and this gives the others a lot of secrets. Everybody builds on that. But experience is definitely very important since you figure out new details at every training run."

About the Super-G race: "I am pumped. Currently I am 15th in the World Cup Start List, so I need a result tomorrow. I think I am skiing well and I like this snow, so let’s see what we can do."