TUESDAY TALK: Fabian Rießle (GER)
With four victories, seven podium results and the third rank in the overall World Cup standings in the past winter, German Fabian Rießle can look back on an impressive merit list. For TUESDAY TALK, he delved into what of this development he was able to carry over into this season, what his first-ever individual German national title means to him and what he is especially looking forward to in the upcoming winter.
First of all, congratulations on your German Championship title, which you even managed to win at home, in Breitnau. What does such a title mean shortly before the season start?
Fabian Rießle: It was pretty cool to win my very first individual national championship at home. Still, I don’t think these summer competitions tell a lot about how the performance in the winter is going to be. There has been a good amount of time between the German nationals and the season start in which it is still possible to develop and drive things. I was happy about taking the title but I don’t expect to start to World Cup and win everything just because I am German summer champion now.
Looking back on the past season, you should be quite satisfied, even though you narrowly missed out on beating Jan Schmid for rank two in the overall standings. What did you take with you from this season?
Rießle: I gained a lot of self-confidence. Especially at the end of the season, with a jumping victory in Klingenthal and three consecutive World Cup wins I saw that I can deliver very good performances on the hill. This gave me a lot of motivation and drive. I think I ended the winter as a stronger athlete, it was a lot of fun and yes, successful.
Maybe it could even be said that you stepped out of Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek’s shadows in the winter of 2017/18. What are your goals for the World Championship season 2018/19 now?
Rießle: I never really felt that I was in any way overshadowed by Eric or Johannes. For me, it’s not so important who people feel is the number one, two, six or seven in the team. We have a cool team, great team spirit and there is no real leader, we are all on the same level.
My goals for the World Championship season are to improve and get better and better. Of course I would be really happy with a World Championship medal. This is my biggest goal.
Next to the World Championships, there are other highlights like the TRIPLE or the newly-designed Lillehammer Tour with the Mass Start comeback on the World Cup level. Which event are you especially looking forward to?
Rießle: Well, the World Championships will be the big highlight that I look forward to of course. Other than that, I think it’s the Mass Start. I really don’t understand why it is not coming back for more events than just this one! Yeah, this is definitely what I am looking forward to most. (laughs)
In just a bit more than two weeks. the season opening will take place in Ruka, Finland. How will you spend the time until then?
Rießle: That's right, we are starting the season very soon and until then me and my team are using the time well. Until Friday, we are going to be in Oberstdorf and head to Davos after that. The last week before Ruka, I will spend at home to prepare, relax and empty my head, so I am fully ready for the new season. I’m really looking forward to the first events.
Ruka has been more and less successful for you in the past years. How are you approaching this weekend with its difficult jumping hill and Northern Finnish weather conditions?
Rießle: Ruka is definitely special, you never know what will happen. I have had years when I went to Ruka and though ‘It’s going so well in the jumping part, my cross-country shape is great and I am so motivated’ and then I pretty much got punched in the face and in other years, I was sure my jumping was not on the level and the weekend would not be good and suddenly it worked out great. So yes, it’s definitely one of a kind but I think I know how to take those results by now.
The wind can be quite an issue and you just need a little bit of luck, so I hope that Lady Luck will smile on me this year! (laughs)