Alpine Skiing: Štuhec Will Return to World Cup in November

By , 08 Oct 2018, 10:20 AM Sport
Ilka Štuhec, 2017 Ilka Štuhec, 2017 Wikimedia - Stefan Brending / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0

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STA, 5 October 2018 - Slovenia's best Alpine skier Ilka Štuhec is looking forward to the World Cup opener in Canada's Lake Louis at the end of November after missing the entire last season due to a knee injury. The reigning world champion in downhill is not putting any pressure on herself but says she will give her best in every race. 

A year and eight months after her last appearance in the World Cup, Štuhec is set to return to the elite competition in Alpine skiing, with the severe knee injury she suffered last October to miss the 2018 Winter Olympics being only a (bad) memory.

The 27-year-old from Maribor, who had 13 podium finishes and seven wins in the 2016/17 season to win small crystal globes for downhill and Alpine combined, and won gold in downhill at the 2017 World Ski Championships, is now taking one step at a time and has completely different goals.

After undergoing lengthy rehab following a knee surgery and finishing a month-long training camp in Chile, where she was able to ski at full speed and put maximum load on her knees, Štuhec says that her self-confidence is increasing by the day.

The skier, who introduced rowing as part of her training regiment some four years ago, says that she never had concrete goals in the World Cup. "The goals will be as usual, full effort in every race, and we will see what happens," she told reporters at a recent get-together of Slovenian ski teams.

"Each race will be equally important. Time is the biggest opponent and biggest competition anyway," she said, adding that the biggest challenge she had to overcome would actually be herself as a lot of time had passed since she had last competed for World Cup points.

Štuhec wants to appear in all downhill and super-G events and in the Alpine combined, while she will be deciding on her individual appearances in technical disciplines together with coach Grega Koštomaj, depending on her shape.

After the missed Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, she will also be eyeing the world championships in Sweden's Are in February 2019, where she will be defending the downhill gold. But Štuhec says she will be "attacking several things, not only one".

She took part in an official competition in Chile for the first time after almost 550 days, convincingly winning a giant slalom event for the South American Cup. What was important about the win is that it confirmed that she is still able to compete at a high level.

There are thus no obstacles for Štuhec's successful start of the season, as she is not afraid of new injuries. "It is a high-risk sport, but I don't think about that. I've forgotten what had happened, I'm going forwards and not looking back."

Štuhec does not feel any additional pressure related to her fans' expectations either. "The good wishes and people being happy that I'm back, that I will compete again, serves as motivation and I hope that I will make them happy with some good results."

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