Team Austria on the way to Kuusamo
The Austrian team is now ready, set and on the way to Kuusamo. After a last mini-camp in Rovaniemi to make the first snow jumps of the winter, the team of head coach Christoph Eugen will now travel to Ruka where they will pass the last days until the season kick-off.
But actually, the last couple of days have been quite difficult for the Austrian squad. The internal test competition for the remaining three starting places next to Bernhard Gruber, Mario Stecher, Willi Denifl, Christoph Bieler and Mario Seidl had to be postponed due to the lack of snow in Lillehammer where the team was on a training camp last week. With a postponed decision from Thursday to Sunday, the athletes had to wait for a final confirmation if they will be on the team or not. The three lucky candidates who have made the team were Lukas Klapfer, Marco Pichlmayer and youngster Franz-Josef Rehrl.
In spite of all dificulties, head coach Eugen has a positive outlook on the upcoming competitions: "We have worked very well over the summer and the first snow jumps are looking good. It isn't easy to jump in Kuusamo due to the difficult weather conditions, so the older and more experiences athletes will have an advantage. On top of these veterans, we have three qualifiers who are in good shape right now. This is a powerful team and I am very happy to finally get started."
Youngster Rehrl has already set his sights on a goal for his World Cup weekend: "I am happy to have made a mark in our internal qualification competition. Now, I have to work on establishing myself in the World Cup but it will all be about having fun and just try to keep up with the world elite."