Olympic champion Janka to skip World Cup opener
ZERMATT, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic giant slalom champion Carlo Janka will skip the Alpine World Cup race next month at Soelden, Austria, which opens the Sochi Winter Games season.
After struggling throughout last season, Janka was assured a high bib number and a slow, rutted snow surface for the first run on Oct. 27.
“I start at the end of the field and it makes no sense at all to do it,” Janka told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Janka had difficulty adapting to new GS ski specification rules last season and completed only one event — a 24th-place finish at Beaver Creek, Colorado. Those race points left the 2009 world champion trailing in 48th place in the seasonlong discipline standings.
The GS season was dominated by Ted Ligety of the United States who won six World Cup races, including Soelden, and his second straight worlds gold medal.
“I have some work to do when I compare with Ted or Marcel (Hirscher),” Janka acknowledged.
Janka’s first scheduled World Cup race is the Nov. 30 downhill at Lake Louise, Canada.
“I have maybe to focus on the speed side at the beginning of the season and then I see how it works in the GS,” the 26-year-old Swiss said.
Janka had Ligety back in ninth place when winning gold in GS at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Janka carried that Olympic success into a run of results which earned the overall World Cup title.
Since then, Janka has been slowed by health issues and equipment problems, as new ski rules made it tougher to carve sharp turns.
“Definitely better than last year,” Janka said ahead of the second season on longer skis. “Not on the top (form), but definitely better. I have still work to do, of course.”