Ilka Štuhec: I need to stay calm and believe in myself

It’s been one of the most difficult weekends in recent years for Ilka Štuhec, at least regarding results of three ski races in Bansko. The 18th, 19th and 20th places were by no means her goal, despite a very challenging slope that was not exactly a downhill track.

We were witnesses of two downhill races with those competitors at the forefront, who are better in super-G or even giant slalom. The best ones also had issues with visibility due to early hours – Štuhec, Schmidhofer, Ledecká, Siebenhofer, Venier, and also Sutter had quite some issues. The best of all the mentioned was the 9th place for Siebenhofer on Friday and for Sutter on Saturday. “The last three races were tough. The hill is not exactly the downhill type, it is more super-G, we have to admit that. Anyway, this is a race, you have to do your best. Ilka didn’t do it, she wanted to, but it didn’t work. We are glad to leave Bansko and look forward towards Sochi,” said Stefan Abplanalp.

Ilka’s team doesn’t want to look for excuses. They are aware that the results are not in line with pre-season wishes and expectations. Ilka Štuhec, two-time downhill world champion, is well aware of it, too: “I lack confidence most at this point. This was difficult to gain on a demanding track where turns were set one after the other, as in other discipline. I was trying to find some positive things. I have to wait patiently for the next opportunity, downhill is coming up again in Sochi. I keep my fingers crossed for the weather to serve us as there were no races at all last year.”

Before the race weekend in Sochi

After a good night rest and a trip to the Russian ski resort and the 2014 Olympic Games scene, Štuhec was thinking completely in the direction of the upcoming races: “I have to stay calm, this is what I have to work on the most. I know I’m doing well. It is a bit of a worn phrase, but nevertheless, I have already shown some very good rides this year in training. I have to do that again, do my best and believe that it will show in the race sooner or later.”

Coach Abplanalp also says it is necessary to look ahead and focus on the next race: “The aim is to connect the performances in Zauchensee, where Ilka was on her way to the winning stage. We have to start from there, forget about Bansko and build confidence on a skiing performance in Zauchensee. We need to get Ilka in the right flow, the right rhythm. Some races were good; we have to build on them. We can’t pay attention to races like Bansko too much.”

Štuhec has already arrived to Sochi, where we will follow the downhill and super-G races this weekend. There are also downhill training sessions on Thursday and Friday. The competitors last competed at the Sochi ski slope in the 2014 Winter Olympics, where Ilka Štuhec  was skiing after a knee injury just a few weeks earlier and finished 10th.

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