"I had really an amazing start into the new season!"
Roland Clara was the surprise of the first two FIS Cross-Country World Cup weekends.
The 29-year-old from Bruneck took the third place in the opening 15 km in free technique in Sjusjoen. Then in the second stage of Ruka Triple, Kuusamo he seized the second place in 10 km free behind Petter Northug. FIS Cross-Country News talked with Roland Clara on his way home from the successful Scandinavian mission.
Q: Roland, two podiums in two World Cup weekends. Did you expect this before the season?
Roland Clara: No, I did not expect it. It has been amazing. I can’t believe I have had such good results. Before the season I had hoped to be in top 15 and now I was twice on the podium already. I had really an amazing start into the new season.
Q: Do you feel it could be your breakthrough season?
R.C.: It is difficult to say now. We have had only two World Cup weekends. I’m not thinking about it too much. The season will be long and there are still many races to go. We will see after the winter.
Q: You have two tough racing weekends behind. What will be your plans before Davos?
R.C.: I’m going home now and will not be starting in Düsseldorf. I will take a few days off and resume training again on Thursday to get ready for Davos. Either I will go training in Toblach or to Rein in Taufers, which is actually my favorite training resort. I hope to be in good shape in Davos again to deliver another good result there.
Q: Last year on Alpe Cermis you were the second fastest and finished 5th in the overall standing. What are your plans for this year’s Tour de Ski?
R.C.: I do not have any concrete plans for the Tour. There are many factors that play an important role in the Tour de Ski; you need good luck in all the races, good skis, good shape. There are many competitions and I will take the Tour step-by-step, competition after competition and then I will see how it is evolving but I hope to be as good as last year.
Q: In Kuusamo’s Ruka Triple you were 14th overall, last year at the Tour de Ski you finished 5th. Stage events seem to suit you well?
R.C.: Yes, I like stage events or mini-tours very much. I’m kind of a hard athlete and I recover quite fast. So I don’t have problems with competing in more races in a row.
Q: You and for example David Hofer seem to have become the new generation of Italian skiers. Would you agree on that?
R.C.: Yes, I hope we are the new successful generation of Italian skiers. I’m 29 years old and I hope to be improving in the future to deliver good results.
Q: In 2013, there will be World Championships in Val di Fiemme. Is it going to be your career highlight?
R.C.: For sure, World Championships in your homeland will be special. But for me every Tour de Ski, World Cup, World Championships are career highlights. For me, the World Champs in Val di Fiemme will be as important as it was in Oslo 2011.