Nations Cup Ranking: 9th (2013 pts)
Men: 7th (1729 pts)
Women: 15th (284 pts)
2010/2011 World Cup Team
What you may have missed last season:
After going from zero to hero between 2007 and 2009, Dario Cologna took a step backwards in 2010, falling to fourth in the race for the Crystal Globe. While he was still undeniably one of the strongest men in the World Cup field, as his bronze medal on the Tour de Ski and gold in the Olympic 15 k show, Cologna’s leg injury in the fall slowed him at start to the season. He failed to crack the top 10 until December 19 in Rogla, Slovenia, and his first medal came during the fifth stage of the Tour de Ski, during a slightly awkward sprint finish with Petter Northug and Marcus Hellner.
But more importantly, Switzerland wasn’t just the Dario Cologna show last year. Curdin Perl was a solid-if-not-spectacular distance skier, and more
importantly, looks like he really loves life. Toni Livers and Remo Fischer were similar, and after the first race at the Olympics, where all four skiers finished a Canadian-esque top 17 on the day, hopes were high for the relay. But they were unable to pull off a Czech-like upset there.
As for the sprinters, Eligius Tamborino was the best after Cologna. His chief problem is his abysmal classic sprinting, in which he failed to qualify for a single set of heats, while in skate he made the cut.
As for women, things are a little light. Silvana Bucher was the best of the lot, collecting all her points in just three stops on the circuit – most notably finishing sixth in the competitive skate sprint in Oslo, Norway. Meanwhile Bettina Gruber, currently nursing a shoulder injury, skate sprinted well, although like Tamborino, her classic technique could use some work.
In other news, longtime women’s team stalwart Laurence Rochat has decided to end her career. At the same time, sprinter Seraina Mischol, who scored over 500 World Cup points in 2008, was pegged to retire after collecting just one point last season. But she’s still training hard.
What You Should Know For This Season
Despite finishing fourth and taking a large hit in World Cup points in 2009-2010, Cologna is nowhere near finished. He is arguably the third best all-around skier on the World Cup, after Northug and Hellner, and is a good bet to finish in the top 10 no matter what race is on tap.
If you thought the Canadians had a confusing and convoluted coaching history, check out Switzerland. The Swiss briefly picked up Canadian castoff Inge Braten this spring, but he failed to stick, and after dismissing him this fall, they opted instead for Guri Hetland (wife of former Norwegian sprint star and current Swiss sprint coach, Tor Arne Hetland) to lead their distance team, with Fredrik Aukland, Dario Cologna’s personal coach, in a support role. Still not really sure who is coaching whom in Switzerland? Yeah, us neither.
Also, if you’re a Nikolai Pankratov fan, and you’re disappointed that he won’t be skiing this winter, blame the Swiss – their border guards were the ones who busted him.
Who You Should Watch
For immediate World Cup success, Silvana Bucher is the best bet. She has the speed, obviously knows the sprint course in Oslo quite well, and won two distance races plus the sprint at Swiss National Championships last year.