Charlie Guest and Alex Tilley made their Europa Cup seasonal debuts in the first EC Giant Slaloms of the season in Levi. While neither made it to the second run on the first day of racing, this is still part of the long term strategy outlined by their couch Stefan Moser. Day two saw … the girls step their game up and both were just off the pace for making the flip. With only 60 making the second run and the top thirty being flipped, day two was a much improved day for both. While Guest starts just outside the top thirty, courtesy of winning the ANZ Yellow Bib in the summer, Tilley starts lower down. The two were just outside the flip, Guest three tenths and Tilley four tenths off making the flip.
While it is great having them close to the flip, the implications of this should be explained in regards to the bigger picture: While Britain currently has 8 spots for Alpine to go to the Olympics, racers need to make the qualifying criteria to make one of these eight spots. One the of the ways that a British racer can make the criteria is to place in the top 10 at a Europa Cup race, twice. By making the flip for the second run, this gives either Guest or Tilley a cleaner track for the second run and if it all comes together a fantastic opportunity to get make a top 20 result.
Day two in Levi say Tilley just better Guest in the results as they finished in 46th (Tilley) and 47th (Guest). Moser is confident that soon one, if not both, of his athletes whose programme is supported by Delancey, will make the cut and bring home Europa Cup points that are awarded for the first thirty finishers after the two runs. While the result did not help on the Road to Sochi or score her FIS points, it was a career sixth best result in Giant Slalom for Guest
The girls stay in Levi now for two EC Slalom races before then heading back to central Europe to race in Paganello, Italy for a EC Slalom. David Ryding gets his Europa Cup Slalom defence up and running in Norway on December 1 where Nick Moynihan will also be racing.
The Europa Cup is a step up for the two racers from Scotland but this is the next step for them and while they have already made their bow on the World Cup circuit last year, this will push them that little bit harder than FIS races as they look to raise their game.