"A ladies' race on the Saslong has always been my dream”
Isolde Kostner from Val Gardena/Gröden was one of the world’s best athletes in both the downhill and super-G disciplines at the turn of the millennium. In an interview, the two-time World Champion and two-time winner of the Downhill World Cup talks about the upcoming ladies’ races on the Saslong.
Isolde, for the first time at the ladies’ World Cup races on the Saslong. A unique story for Val Gardena/Gröden, isn't it?
Absolutely! It has always been my dream to race down the Saslong in the World Cup already back when I was actively competing. Unfortunately it didn't work out then - but now I'm even more thrilled for Nicol Delago, who can show what she's made of right here at home.
Speaking of Nicol Delago: This year, the local from Selva/Wolkenstein practically knocked on the podium with a fifth place in the downhill of Lake Louise. What do you think will she accomplish on the Saslong?
I saw Nicol's ride in Lake Louise. Despite a major mistake, she finished in a very strong fifth place - which shows that she is in excellent shape at the moment. I hope she can use her deep knowledge of this course to her advantage, because then she can really make the most of it. Even a place in the top ten would be an excellent result for Nicol.
Let's talk about the course. Only men's races have been held on the Saslong so far. Does the track have to be changed to make it suitable for women as well?
Surely you have to work on the course, otherwise it would be too dangerous for the ladies. The jumps on the Camel Humps are quite long, so it's right for the ladies to circumvent them. The Ciaslat is also very demanding - it has to be defused so that the speed for the ladies is not as high as it is for the men.
Now a tip from the expert: Who is most likely to win on the Saslong?
At the moment, I see Mikaela Shiffrin one step ahead of the competition in the technical area. That could be a decisive advantage on a track that nobody really knows much about. Otherwise, experienced athletes like Lara Gut are at the top of my list for the races in Val Gardena/Gröden. But also Lindsey Vonn - should she start - must be considered, too.