While he has just celebrated his 31st birthday – it was last Sunday – Justin Murisier is still in search of learning. For a long year now, the man who took his first steps on the World Cup circuit in a slalom suit at the beginning of 2010 has chosen to intensify his involvement in the speed disciplines. In particular, he will try to confirm his progress in downhill this weekend in Wengen, marked by a convincing 7th place two weeks ago in Bormio.
Knee pain since Adelboden
“I didn’t expect such a result in my eighth World Cup race in the discipline,” he admits. “The Lauberhorn is another type of track, much more slippery. This is precisely my problem at the moment: I still have trouble letting the skis go properly. Leaving the track during the first round of the giant Adelboden last weekend, the Valaisan keeps knee pain as a memory. “It’s not easy monster. Especially here where the snow is quite soft. I tend to protect myself by going on my inside ski. I hope that in the race, with the adrenaline, I will be able to overcome that.
“In Wengen, I see myself more in the top 20, maybe the top 15, than any ahead.” Justin Murisier
Very lucid with himself, Justin Murisier knows that the route of the Lauberhorn is not the one that best corresponds to his qualities. “For the moment, I am not yet complete enough in speed”, he affirms. “Tracks like Kitzbühel which are more technical and where you really have to engage suit me better. This is where I can hope to find myself ahead. Here in Wengen, I don’t see myself finishing in the top 20, maybe the top 15.
Lessons from last year
If he had already taken part in a few combined descents there in the past, the Bagnard really discovered the Lauberhorn speed events last year. 24th in Super-G, he had followed up with a 30th and a 31st place during the two runs that were on the program. The weather conditions were then radiant, quite the opposite of what is expected this weekend in the Oberland resort. “Despite everything, I think I can learn lessons from last winter. I had perfectly succeeded in the only technical parts of the course, those which make the difference in the end, so it is something that I can take with it for the races to come. Afterwards, it’s true that the visibility will be very different this year. It is very low, especially on the upper part where there are no trees. We really have no reference point and it is on this point that others are better than me. All the injuries I have had make me much more apprehensive than them in these conditions.
“There’s no point putting negative energies on me by telling myself that it won’t do for the start.” Justin Murisier
Despite this, Justin Murisier refuses to dwell any longer on this theme of the weather which is causing a lot of talk this week on the spot. “It’s no use putting negative energies on me by telling myself that it won’t do for the start,” he notes. “All I can tell you is that during the two training sessions, we were treated to a lot of snow changes. There was old, fresh and even ice cream. Wednesday, with my 50 bib, it was quite difficult to set off on a track that was very marked. But I trust the organizers. I know they will do everything to offer great races this weekend.
Three disciplines for a busy program
For the first time in his career, the Valaisan has a string of races this winter, taking part in all the giant, Super-G and therefore downhill events. There too, he is still in the learning phase, trying to understand how to balance the recovery periods and the work periods to be efficient each time he takes the start. “I had an idea of how I wanted to plan my season but all that was called into question by my operation in October,” he regrets. “I then had to jump on the bandwagon that was already on the way with less leg workouts than expected. After Bormio I felt like I was really dry. I then understood that it was important for me to ask myself a little. This is also advice given to me by Beat (note: Feuz). I had a tendency to always want to give it my all during training and he told me to focus on certain parts of the track and blow on others. That’s how you gain energy throughout the season.”
Benefiting – until next week in any case – from the support of future retiree Beat Feuz and prodigy Marco Odermatt, Justin Murisier is perfectly equipped to operate his transformation from technician to speed specialist. A moult that passes through Wengen and the Super-G and the descent scheduled for Friday and Saturday on the Lauberhorn. As long as the weather permits.
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