New Season, New Rebels, Olympics on the Horizon
In the last four years the HEAD World Cup Rebels have been the team to beat. Multiple World Championship titles, Crystal Globes and World Cup race wins have all been accomplished with grace, power and no end of hard work. The new season brings with it, new Rebels joining the World Cup Rebels programme, the excitement around the new season is growing by the day.
Tina Weirather, Veronika Velez-Zuzulova, Connie Huetter and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde are all joining the World Cup Rebels. The four racers bring experience and determination to the team and alongside the returning from injury Rebels Ted Ligety, Aksel Lund Svindal and Lara Gut will mean the Rebels are ready to roar into the new season.
The World Championships in 2017 saw the speed team produce a dominant performance with a clean sweep in the Super G with Erik Guay and Beat Feuz took the Gold medal in the Downhill. Lindsey Vonn, Kjetil Jansrud, Manny Osborne-Paradis and Guay again all medalled. The injury to Lara Gut in the Combined was offset by the amazing performance of Wendy Holdener as she won the Women’s Combined Gold.
The World Cup saw an impressive and nearly unexpected return to winning ways for Lindsey Vonn in Garmisch Partenkirchen, despite lack of snow training in the weeks before the season start. It was her 77th race win on the World Cup. Later on Anna Veith returned from her injury layoff to podium in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Super G. Can Vonn edge closer to the outright record of Ingemar Stenmark of 86 World Cup wins this winter? She is already the most successful female on the World Cup tour.
While the Men’s and Women’s Overall Globes eluded the team last season, the strength of the team to come back and battle for the Globes this season is one of the strongest reasons that Huetter, Weirather, Velez-Zuzulova and Kilde all expressed when joining the most successful team from the last four years on the World Cup tour. All four new Rebels are race winners on the World Cup. Huetter and Weirather will add more strength to the Women’s World Cup speed team while Velez-Zuzulova will provide more competition with Holdener in the Slalom races. We all hope her knee injury sustained in the summer will not hamper her season this year. Kilde, the 2014 Super-G World Cup champion joins his fellow Norwegians, Jansrud and Svindal, on HEAD and will be looking to see how he can challenge the two now he is on the same equipment.
On the technical front, the early season dominance of Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre in winning the first three Giant Slalom races was impressive. Matts Olsson then joined the party in taking four top six results, including two podiums, in the last four races of the Giant Slalom World Cup.
Wendy Holdener was one of the most consistent racers on the World Cup Women’s Slalom tour last season as she placed six times on the podium out of the nine races to finish in third place on the Slalom overall standings for the second year running. She’ll surely aim for even more this coming season – especial at the Winter Olympics in Korea.
In all the Rebels won 19 races last season with 15 runners up spots and 24 third places. Add to this three Gold’s (Feuz, Holdener and Guay), three Silver’s (Holdener, Guay and Jansrud) and three Bronze (Vonn, Osborne-Paradis and Gut), the springboard to Pyeongchang is looking good.
With the new season bringing the challenge of the Olympics, all the racers are looking one race at a time. Soelden is the kick off for the season and then it is off to Levi for the Slalom opening before the racers head to North America and the start of the speed races in Lake Louise for the Men and the Women a week later. The women will be in Killington when the men race in Canada. With all the talk of her racing the men, Lindsey Vonn will be wanting to get back to her favourite slope in “Lake Lindsey” and add to her impressive record there with a total of 17 wins since 2004! Pyeongchang in February is also the highlight of the season for her! The 2010 Downhill Olympic champion has had a summer of preparation in readiness for the new season as well.
With Ted Ligety looking in impressive form on the new thirty metre radius Men’s Giant Slalom skis, Aksel Lund Svindal always ready to strike back and Lara Gut back smiling and looking forward to the new season following her promising recovery last summer, the challenge will be to better the records set at the 2014 Olympics.
Matthias Mayer lead the way in 2014 Olympics as the HEAD World Cup Rebels took five Gold’s (Mayer, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Anna Veith, Kjetil Jansrud and Ted Ligety) with three silvers (Hoefl-Riesch, Weibrecht and Veith) and 3 bronze (Mancuso, Miller and Jansrud). Can the team match this in 2018?
New names will be looking to add their names to roll of honur in Jeongseon where the Olympics will be held. Kilde placed fourth in the test event in 2016 and Blaise Giezendanner eighth in the Super G. While Jansrud will be looking to replicate his Downhill win from the test event in 2016, Beat Feuz and Adrien Theaux both performed strongly in 2016 as well for the test event.
For years the Men’s Slalom team has been looking to join in the party and with Andre Myhrer winning the last slalom of the season for the second year in a row, the buzz around the Slalom team is strong. Alexis Pinturault is a force to be reckoned with on both the Giant Slalom skis and the Slalom and with Ted Ligety and Jonathan Nordbotten also scoring regularly in the Slalom, the discipline is on the up for the Rebels.
While the world bathed on the beaches during the summer, the HEAD World Cup Rebels were hard at work testing new designs and equipment in South America, New Zealand and Australia as well as on the Indoor Slopes of Europe. The HEAD World Cup Rebels programme is a team effort and through its intense teamwork the strongly motivated staff brings the success to the racers on the World Cup Tour. The Olympics, World Cup races and all the way down to the skiers using the product, HEAD are the brand that leads the way.