Silvio, how was the off-season for your team and your athletes?
Silvio Fauner: We had a very good summer. The team was healthy except for David Hofer who was coping with muscle injury in July, however, it was a minor injury and he did not have to stop training. The team has been working very hard. The men’s team is now training in Passo Stelvio together with the B team. Ladies team is in Ramsau.
Have there been any changes in your coaching staff?
SF: We have made only one change; Paolo Riva has become the main coach of the men’s team. He was the B-Team coach and also coached the Italian Biathlon World Cup team. Saracco remains the sprint coach and Stauder coaches ladies.
For Italy, Roland Clara had a very strong start into the last season. Do you expect him to be again strong, or somebody else?
SF: I hope Roland will again be in good shape. On the other hand, I would wish that other young skiers will do well. David Hofer has been working hard on the free technique and Thomas Moriggl has been looking good, too. There are other good young skiers with a potential in the B-team. I would like to take one or two of them to the first World Cups of the season.
Italian ladies’ team has been through a generation change. Do you see light at the end of the tunnel?
SF: I think we have really good young ladies, but this year will probably be too early for them. I feel they are still too young to break through on the World Cup level. Deborah Agreiter is the silver medalist from the U23 World Ski Championships in Erzurum last year. She is 22 years old and even the big names such as Paruzzi, Longa and Follis had their first big successful competitions and results when they were 27 or 28. I see young women with a potential but not yet for this season.
What is your preview to the next winter?
SF: The season will be long and most likely we all our athletes will not compete in all World Cups. Also not all the athletes will finish the Tour de Ski, maybe two or three. The rest will continue preparation for the World Championships. For sure our biggest goal for the season is to perform well at the home Championships in Val di Fiemme. The dream would be to claim a medal every day, but that’s not so easy. I see our biggest chance in the sprint, 15 km free technique and team sprint, maybe in the relay.
How is the upgraded Val di Fiemme venue?
SF: It is a new venue with upgraded Cross-Country courses. The stadium has been changed and the tracks are very, very hard, especially the ladies’ sprint. On the other hand they are very nice and fair.
You are representing Italy at Cross-Country Committees here in Zurich. Will you return home satisfied?
SF: Yes, I am leaving Zurich satisfied. Perhaps we will speak with other nations to suggest some small changes.