In view of the first slalom of the World Cup Season in Levi, the athlete from Trentino (Pozza di Fassa) is already focused on Madonna Di Campiglio's night slalom scheduled on December, 22. “I am feeling good, winning in Madonna di Campiglio would be special”
December 12th, 2005, Giorgio Rocca won Madonna di Campiglio’s night slalom, the second of his five consecutive wins of the 2005/06 FIS Ski Alpine World Cup, ended with the overall success in the slalom classification. This is the last time that Canalone Miramonti’s Italian supporters had the chance to see the national flag on the top of the podium. Now, the Italian team, under the guidance of Stefano Costazza, will face this challenge again on Saturday, December 22nd, when the 65th 3Tre “night slalom” edition is scheduled (first run 3.45PM CET, second run 6.45PM CET), that will shed light on this year’s edition before Christmas, in the “Pearl of Dolomites”.
Local hero Stefano Gross, third in the 2016 edition, leads the Italian Team. After facing the training camp in Argentina, the athlete born in Pozza di Fassa is ready to tackle the first slalom of the World Cup season, to be held in Levi (Finland), on November 18th. “I am feeling good - Gross said - after suffering backache for few years, now I am definitely better and ready to compete. To me, this is an important achievement: the summer preparation has been ideal and I’ve been able to train at my best. The weather in Argentina was perfect and this made it possible to test the equipment as well. This year, I’ve changed ski boots and I’ve been testing them as much as I could before the World Cup”.
Could the 2018/19 season be the winning one? This is what fans and Gross hope for - the Italian athlete is focused to maintain consistent performance in both runs. “This was my weakness in some events, the first aim is to find consistency”. Levi's race is getting closer, but Gross is already focused on the night slalom before Christmas which will take place on Canalone Miramonti slope. “3Tre is the only Italian slalom competition included into the World Cup calendar and to me this is the moment when my main supporters gather: my family, my friends and my fans”.
“This is one of the most beautiful and historic competitions featured into the calendar, with very warm fans. Every year, I realise that the audience grows in number - this means that all of us, organisers and athletes, are doing something good: people are getting closer to this sport”, said the 32-years-old Italian athlete, winner for the first time in World Cup in the 2015 edition of Adelboden's slalom, in Switzerland.
The same warm supporters will cheer during Gross downhill on Canalone Miramonti on December 22nd, hoping for him to improve the 2016 result. “Two years ago I’ve conquered a podium spot in Madonna di Campiglio, but I want the first place. I hope that hard work, training and commitment lead me on the top spot of the 2018 podium. Winning is beautiful, but when it comes to 3Tre it gets more special and a meaningful achievement”.
Photos: 1) Stefano Gross in action at 2016 3Tre, closed in third place (Credits: Pentaphoto); 2) 3Tre's Italian last winner Giorgio Rocca, first in the 2005 edition (Credits: Pentaphoto); 3) 2016 3Tre's podium. From left: Marcel Hirscher, Henrik Kristoffersen and Stefano Gross (Credits: Pentaphoto); 4) "Sabo" during the training camp in Argentina (Credits: Stefano Gross); 5) Gross on the Canalone Miramonti slope (Credits: Pentaphoto); 6) The Italian National Team celebrating the podium claimed by Gross at 2016 3Tre (Credits: Pentaphoto).