Nations Cup Ranking: 20th (229 pts)
Men: 20th (19 pts)
Women: 17th (210 pts)
2010/2011 A Team
What you may have missed last season:
Before it was all the rage to pile on the Russians for doping transgressions, the Austrians were the preferred whipping boys, and man, did they ever get whipped. This was mostly due to one Walter Mayer, who just couldn’t leave well enough alone, embroiling himself in scandal in the 2002 and 2006 Olympic Games. Although, in 2006 he at least made it exciting, in a way that cross-country skiers rarely do. If that wasn’t enough, good ol’ Christian Hoffmann is under suspicion yet again for his possible involvement in doping.
However, one Austrian that needs to be mentioned for the right reasons (i.e. skiing fast and clean) is Katerina Smutna. She accounted for all 210 points the women scored, remains the only woman on the Austrian World Cup Team, and was a very strong sprinter for the full season. Basically, she was a pretty big bright spot on a team devoid of very much bright.
What You Should Know For This Season
Jurgen Pinter returned at the end of the season from – surprise, surprise – a doping ban. Even if he does help the boys make a relay team at World Championships, don’t expect them to get far without a quick trip to doping control.
Also, Smutna is back, with one more year of experience under her belt and an axe to grind after making only two A-finals last year, one in Canmore, and the other in Stockholm, at the World Cup Final.
Who You Should Watch
Without a doubt Katerina Smutna. She made some solid moves last year, and don’t be surprised if she comes out swinging in the first sprint race of the season. For an elite sprinter to really rack up the points, you have to be consistently in the top 10 – Smutna is close, and this season will show whether she is simply a solid top 30 skier or a true contender.