35-year-old Cristian Zorzi from Moena (ITA), the reigning Team Sprint World Champion and Olympic Relay Gold Medalist, talked to us about his status for the upcoming Cross-Country World Cup season and the Tour de Ski in his home region of Val di Fiemme.
Newspower: The winter season is rapidly approaching. How is Cristian Zorzi training? What is his condition?
Cristian Zorzi: “I've just come back from Ramsau, where we found 1.5 meters of fresh snow. Great! I am training well, I must say, although I sometimes have muscular problems, due to heavy working loads. Maybe we have pushed it a little too much, exceeded the limits, but the recovery has been immediate and there are no problems”.
Newspower: This year there are neither the Olympic Winter Games nor the World Championships, and the attention is focused on the World Cup and, inevitably, on the Tour de Ski.
Cristian Zorzi: “In a sense, this will be a quiet season, without the typical psycho-physical burden of the most important event of the year, like the Olympic Games or the World Championships. Everything will be easier, without pressure if a race goes bad. The attention will be focused on the Tour de Ski, a really exciting stage race”.
Newspower: What are your expectations for the Tour?
Cristian Zorzi: “Last year, we did pretty well although rhw races favored specialists in the classical technique. We had problems only in the 30 km classical race in Val di Fiemme where we made a mistake with waxes; otherwise things would have gone better for us. For this reason, we have greater hopes than last year, even if in my opinion the favorites for the victory are still the Germans, who are competitive in both styles, and fast. I will personally try to win one of the Stages and we will try to do our best as a team, in order to obtain a good result in the special team ranking introduced this year.
Newspower: What about the “Final Climb”?
Cristian Zorzi: “It's tough, it's scary. If you don't try it you cannot understand. Moreover, it comes when skiers have already raced several kilometers. From the emotional point of view it's simply incomparable: I still remember the crowd along the track last year – it seemed like the finish of one of the stages of the “Giro d'Italia” (Ed. One of the largest stage races in cycling after the Tour De France).
Newspower: The final stage will be shorter than last year (15 km for the men). Will it make any difference?
Cristian Zorzi: “I don't think so. The problem is not the length, but the ascent, which is spectacular for the public, but maybe too demanding for a cross-country skier”.
Sources: FIS, Newspower