Pellegrino & De Fabiani, Games mission: “I dream of a sprint like Jacobs”

The two Aosta Valley champions are the leaders of the national team and went to Switzerland to train with the Russians and Austrians. Friday they debut in the World Cup Sprint with their heads already at the Olympics

Federico Pellegrino and Francesco De Fabiani went across the border (Switzerland) to become stronger. Opening up to the training set by the German coach Markus Cramer, who follows Ustiugov and Retivykh, the two neighbors from Valle d’Aosta, they questioned themselves after the World Cup in Oberstdorf without podiums. Yet for Chicco it was not a disappointing season, on the contrary: the Aosta Valley will remember this 2021 “as the most important year of my life”. For having won the second Sprint World Cup, and above all for having brought Greta Laurent, the Italian sprinter, to the altar. De Fabiani is Pellegrino’s squire: he was the youngest blue to win in the World Cup and at the World Championships in Seefeld 2019 he won the medal in the Sprint with his partner. The blue fortunes in the Olympic season depend on the two. Two axes to conquer the world. And the Games.

The king of the sprint

Explains Pellegrino, 31 years old, policeman from Nus, outgoing Olympic silver in the classic Sprint, 5 world medals including gold in 2017 in Lahti and 16 World Cup victories with two specialty spheres: “I would like to try to be 100% right from the start, for me the path of the Olympics is easier than other top-level athletes like Norwegians and Russians, who will have to earn their places and will have to compete in the World Cup and be selected for the Olympics. If you want to see level competitions. look at those of the World Cup at the end of November and December, that is the absolute highest level of our sport, as far as those nations are concerned. Klaebo will surely be the man to beat. He has the good fortune / misfortune to be very complete and to aim to win any race, when you start to expand the number of goals then maybe it is more difficult to achieve them all. I dream of sprinting like Jacobs, this time my race at the Games will be in the a free technique that I prefer. In 2018 I was probably the most suitable and appropriate age to be able to win Olympic gold in the sprint and I stopped at silver, I came close. Now I’ll try again. Statistically in sprint races, the older you are, the more young people arrive very strong and overbearing. But I pretend nothing has happened and I think I’m still 25 years old. I changed my training system on purpose and I feel satisfied with the choice made which motivated me a lot “.

Defa’s plans

Adds De Fabiani, 28 years old from Gressoney, world medal, 2 victories (the first in 2015) and 6 World Cup podiums: “A special season is starting, we hope to have our say in China as the Azzurri did in the summer in Japan. The main goal is the Olympic one: in Beijing I’d like to be able to achieve something important in the 15 km classic technique and the 50 km free technique. The Olympic track is an unknown factor for everyone: we have profiles, maps but we have never been able to try the snow and the Chinese tracks, in short, we will go in the dark and it will be a novelty for everyone. We will try to be ready and to be able to play at our best. This year it was a different preparation than usual: Chicco and I are there aggregated to a foreign team led by Cramer who follows one of the 4 Russian A teams. What has changed? Let’s work more hours but at a lower speed, we will see what this new system will bring. The answer and the fruits of this preparation will be able to or give it only the races “.

Blue: there is little Di Centa

The new national cross-country team entrusted to Alfred Stauder (who will make use of the contribution of Paolo Riva for men and Renato Pasini for women), will start with 7 Azzurri as always from Ruka in Finland, where a Sprint aa classic technique is scheduled on Friday. , on Saturday a 10 and 15 km always in classic technique, and on Sunday a 10 and 15 km free technique. Among the Azzurri at the debut of the World Cup season there will be the daughter of art Martina Di Centa. The others called up besides Pellegrino and De Fabiani are Paolo Ventura, Greta Laurent, Lucia Scardoni and Caterina Ganz. After Ruka, the circuit will move on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December to Norway, to Lillehammer, then to Davos (11-12 with a sprint tl) and Dresden (18-19 December, still sprint tl). The Tour de Ski will start on Tuesday 28 December from Lenzerheide (Svi), will pass through Oberstdorf (Ger) and will end in Val di Fiemme on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 January, with the ascent of Cermis. Among the novelties of the Olympic season, the World Cup debut of the mixed 4 × 5 km relay (with two women and two men) and of the mixed sprint team on March 13 in Falun. Finals in Tyumen (Rus), closing on Sunday 20 March.

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Pellegrino & De Fabiani, Games mission: “I dream of a sprint like Jacobs”