The second annual â€œTour de Skiâ€ begins December 28 in Nove Mesto and continues for ten days with eight races in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Italy. Team Atomic dominated last year’s event with Tobias Angerer taking the overall title. This team, known as â€œThe Thin Red Lineâ€ is currently undergoing extensive preparations for this year’s event. We called team director Roman Toferer during a break from testing in Ramsau, Austria.
RICK HALLING: How did Team Atomic get the name â€œThe Thin Red Line?â€
ROMAN TOFERER: It was some journalists in Sweden who first called us that. Our skis are bright red, like a Ferrari, and in the past, the uniforms of our technicians and our factory racers were also bright red. We show up at major races with just one technician and just one or two racers and yet we win the major events, that is why we are called â€œthin.â€ Look at USA, we send just one racer, Billy DeMong, to Boulder Mt. Tour and he wins the race. I saw pictures from that race and the other teams had very many racers. Same thing in Europe, we send just one woman or one man to major races and we still win while other companies have many dozens of racers.
THE THIN RED LINE’S WAX TRAILER AT LAST YEAR’S TOUR. NOTE THE LITRE BOTTLE OF COKE. COPIUS AMOUNTS OF CAFFEINE WERE CONSUMED TO COMPENSATE FOR NO SLEEP!
RICK HALLING: I got caught in the middle of an interesting argument between some coaches at the Turlwand last fall. A few of the coaches were complaining about the â€œprofessionalismâ€ at the Tour de Ski. They were upset that athletes ski for their sponsors first and their national teams second. From what I understood, athletes with the same sponsors were teaming up together and ignoring their nationalities. Can you comment on this?
ROMAN TOFERER: That is a very sensitive subject. I get in trouble if I discuss it.