In a recent press release from FISI (Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali), the Italian Ski Federation, announced some coaching changes for the upcoming season, notably that this year’s World Cup Sprint Globe winner, Federico Pellegrino, and his teammate, Francesco de Fabiani will join the training group of Marcus Cramer who works with the Russian Ski Team. Cramer’s current squad includes Sergey Ustiugov, Gleb Retivykh, Artem Maltsev and Evgeniy Belov on the men’s side and Yulia Stupak, among others, for the women.
The release states that this international working group was set up with the goal of maximizing the summer and fall preparation of both the Italian and Russian’s for the upcoming Beijing Olympics in February 2022 in the best way possible. The training will begin with long periods on snow in Europe starting in May, with the two Italians returning home regularly to join Team Italy for the time in between the on-snow camps. The goal of this project is to experiment with new working methods and intensity, while exchanging Italian and Russian technical knowledge to allow for the growth of both nations’ skiers.
Elena Välbe, president of the Russian Cross-Country Ski Association and manager of the Russian National ski team said of this collaboration, “I am optimistic about this proposal from the Italian team. I believe that this collaboration will benefit both Russian and Italian skiers and in particular Federico Pellegrino. This is an excellent step in the development of cross-country skiing, as two different training methods will meet. I am sure that all parties will make the most of this collaboration and the athletes will be able to give their best. ”
In light of this change, Federico Pellegrino stated, “It has already happened several times to work with the Cramer team, both in the summer preparation phase and during the winter competitive period. The feedback has always been positive and it will be exciting to undertake this new project together. Surely, in view of the Olympics, starting with all this motivation can only be the best way to approach what may be the most important season of my career. ”
Pellegrino’s teammate, Francesco De Fabiani, said, “I am very happy with this project because I believe that training with athletes of this caliber is important to copy, understand and grow together and see the differences between what they do and what we do. I believe it is an important opportunity for growth for my future. For now we focus on the Beijing Olympics, but it will also be a useful experience for the following years. Now I focus on the project and I hope to make the most of it.”
Out of Pellegrino’s sixteen World Cup victories, only one has come in the classic discipline and while he holds a silver medal from the classic sprint in PyeongChang, he will likely be targeting the skate sprint in Beijing 2022. Together, De Fabiani and Pellegrino finished third in the team sprint at the Seefeld World Championships in 2019.
Growing up in Washington’s Methow Valley, Ella was immersed in skiing and the ski community from a young age. From early days bundled in the pulk, to learning to ski as soon as she could walk, to junior racing, a few seasons of collegiate racing, and then to coaching, she has experienced the ski world in many forms. Now, as a recent graduate from Dartmouth College, she finds herself living in France splitting her time between teaching English at a university in Lyon, avidly following ski racing (and now writing about it!) and adventuring in the outdoors as often as possible.