Sarah Schleper set for World Champs team event
After the one and only “day off” on the Garmisch-Partenkirchen World Championship schedule, racing is back on tomorrow (Feb. 16) with the third running of a title meet nations’ team event.
Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Sarah Schleper are set to represent the U.S. Ski Team in the head-to-head parallel giant slalom format. Also fielding teams will be Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Miller, Mancuso and Ligety have 10 World Championship medals among them and Ligety is the reigning Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom champion. Megan McJames and Tim Jitloff will be backups on the roster. World Champs medals and a prize purse of 100,000 Swiss Francs is up for grabs.
“The team event should be fun,” said Ligety. “With Julia, Sarah, Bode and I – I think we have a good chance and GS is my go-to event right now, plus the dual format is a lot of fun to compete in. This is a pretty sweet team, but we’ll all have to lean on each other to move on.”
“It’s a parallel race, so you have to go really hard out of the start and generate speed on the flat part of the course if you want to be fast,” said U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick. “It will be interesting to see who the other countries enter. We’ll see how we stack up after we execute our best skiing.”
Introduced in 2005, the team event has been run a couple of different ways with a new parallel format introduced at last winter’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Garmisch. The Czech Republic took the inaugural crown, however Austria is the reigning World Champion team dating back to 2007 Are, Sweden. The 2009 event was canceled due to bad weather in Val d’Isere, France.
“We look forward to the 3rd edition of the Nations Team Event. I hope everyone will see for themselves that the Nations’ Team Event is one of the most important events for the future. We have seen in disciplines like Cross-Country Skiing and Ski Jumping that the team events are the most-loved events for the fans,” said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper. “After a successful event here at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we hope that the NTE will not just be part of the FIS World Championships and World Cup but also on the program of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi 2014.”
According to Günter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men, the course is read to take the beating after changing temperatures have seen the surface go from hard ice to spring-like condition and everything in between over the last week.
“The base preparation on the race courses has been excellent. With the temperatures below freezing during the past nights and additional cold nights forecast for the next several days, we expect to see an excellent Nations’ Team Event and great giant slalom races at Kandahar. The same goes for the slaloms at Gudiberg.”
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