China can wait: in a few weeks Alex Vinatzer’s focus will move to the Winter Olympic Games, but before that, the talented Italian has his mindset on the FIS World Cup, and on his favorite fixture in the white circus.
The 22-year-old Italian has Wednesday, December 22nd (first run 17.45 CET, second run 20.45 CET) circled in red, when he will take part in the 3Tre night slalom in Madonna di Campiglio, aiming at improving last year’s third place on the Canalone Miramonti.
“The 3Tre is my favorite race – said Alex Vinatzer. – This is my home event, and it always fills me with emotions. Skiing in Madonna di Campiglio is fantastic, I can’t wait to do it again this year”.
As usual, the slalom specialists will get to Campiglio with few races in their legs. Val d’Isere will be the only World Cup slalom before the most historical Italian ski race. Nevertheless, Vinatzer doesn’t sound concerned: “Last year I got a good result even though I participated in only one World Cup race before 3Tre. We train all year to be ready for this: it shouldn’t make much of a difference”.
Vinatzer, who finished third one year ago behind Norway's Kristoffersen and Foss-Solevaag, has a special feeling with the Canalone Miramonti’s slope: “The course is narrow, you immediately need speed, but the real turning point is the big steep: your action must be smooth to bring extra speed into the last plateau. There is no plan B: on the Canalone Miramonti you need to give it all from start to finish.”
The Italian looks forward to having the people back by the Canalone Miramonti on December 22nd. "I'm really excited about it, maybe even too excited", Vinatzer admitted. – “Last year I would have liked to celebrate the podium finish with the fans, but who knows, maybe I will do this year... I hope the first victory isn't too far away: it's a matter of improving my starting number, then I am confident my day will come."
That elusive perfect day that home fans in Madonna have been waiting for 16 years, since Giorgio Rocca's triumph in his magic 2005/2006 season. Now it’s up to Vinatzer to break the spell.