Kieran Norris made his World Cup debut at the Kitzbuehel World Cup last season. The Irish racer faced the steep learning curve with the view to seeing what is expected when heading to the big events like the World Championships and Olympics. This year the Ambition racer is joined on the start list by Mexico’s Rudi Dickson Sommers. Both train at Ambition with Marc Telling and on the eve of the race, Telling spoke about how the two athletes have warmed up for the World Cup races.
Norris is skiing well at the moment according to Telling. “Strangely he is skiing GS better than Slalom this year. He was on way better form this morning than I have seen him this season. He will not come down and win the race but he is excited about it and he will put in a decent performance for what he is capable of. We are living half an hour down the road and it makes sense while we have the opportunity to do the World Cups, to come down and give it a go and it’s such a big race.”
The plan is always about the long term with Norris. The World Championships in St Moritz are very much on the horizon and Norris needs to learn the difference in standards and ability from the FIS races to the World Cup. It is a completely different ball game. Norris is “pretty aware of how it is from last year,” Telling explained “But it is good to remind him of that but it is also good to get a buzz about his skiing again. This is a special opportunity for him.”
This year Norris will go to the start with a team mate to share the experience with and also discuss course setting and tactics with. Mexico’s Rudi Dickson Sommers is Norris’s training partner and while Norris is slightly faster, nothing is taken for granted between the two racers.
Having the two racers on the start list Telling believes gives a “a little comfort for each other. They are in it together. They do compete with each other. In training today it was tic and tac and that is fine. Here it gives a little togetherness and they can bounce ideas off each other.”
Norris has a year’s experience over Dickson Sommers but is helping pass on the experience from last year. “Rudi can be ridiculously fast at times and he is a strong guy so on this hill he could also achieve something.”
Having two racers competing on the World Cup is something that makes Telling proud and it also helps the younger guys and girls on the Ambition programme have something to look up to. It is not only the racers that pick up information that helps them to develop their careers but it also allows Telling to see how International Team Coaches work. Telling has brought along Olympian Andy Noble to help with the racers on race day. Noble competed at the 2010 Olympics for Britain and while he has been out of the racing scene for a while, he has the experience of racing at World Cup races that he can impart on the two athletes.
Telling hopes that he can be on the course to film the racers. At World Cup races teams are able to collect the footage of the other racers to help develop the careers of his racers.
Norris goes 70 and Dickson Sommers 72 with 73 on the start list.