Wednesday, 19th September marks the 100-day milestone for the seventh edition of the Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear kick off in Oberhof. Defending overall World Cup winner and triple FIS Tour de Ski champion Dario Cologna will be at the start of the prologue on 29th December. FIS Cross-Country News talked to the Swiss ace just before the Swiss Ski Nordic Weekend at Andermatt last weekend.
Q: Dario Cologna, how has your summer been so far? Are you satisfied with your training?
Dario Cologna: I had a very good summer. After the season I spent two weeks at the seaside. I enjoyed the warmth, the sun and traveled a little bit around. During the summer I could carry out the complete training as I planned since I did not have any health problems. It’s difficult to say how good my shape is, but I think I’m in a good way.
Q: Did you focus your summer training on some particular aspects of your performance?
D.C.: No, I did not pay attention to anything special. Of course I want to be better every season and I have been working on various aspects of my skiing.
Q: Next winter the FIS Tour de Ski is coming to Switzerland for the first time and right away to your home valley. How do you feel about that?
D.C.: I’m really looking forward to the Tour de Ski stage in my hometown. It will be definitely very special to be competing in front of the house in which my parents live. Competing in my home country is always perfect and at home it will be even better. I do not feel more pressure just because the stage takes place in Val Müstair. It is a nice feeling to have the race where all your friends and fans meet along the course.
Q: Which stage are you looking forward to the most?
D.C.: Of course, I look very much forward to my home stage in Val Müstair. Then, the Tour stages in Italy have always been very nice. Every year they are very important for the overall Tour standings. It will be crucial to perform well there.
Q: Next winter there are two highlights: the FIS Tour de Ski and the World Ski Championships. What will be the keys to success in both events?
D.C: I will compete both in the Tour and in the World Championships this season. I’m convinced that it is possible to be in great shape in both events. In order to do that, I will not do all the World Cup competitions because it is important to have some training periods before big events to work on your shape.
Q: You have won the Tour three times. Looking back, which victory was the most difficult one?
D.C.: That is very hard to say. Every win had its own history and its own challenges.
Q: What are your training plans for the autumn?
D.C.: We will go to Prad in the end of September. In October, the plan is to train in Val Senales before we travel to the North for the final preparation phase before the start of the World Cup.
Q: There are many World Cup competitions next winter. We will visit Canada again and then go for the Olympic test events in Russia. Have you made your plan already?
D.C.: I will start my season in Gällivare and then take part in the Ruka Triple in Kuusamo. I am going to sit out the World Cup competitions in Canada to prepare in the best way for the Tour. After the Tour I will see how my further plans will look like.