No let-up for Worley ahead of Olympics

Luke PHILLIPS
France's Tessa Worley competes in the Ladies' Super-G race during the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup in St. Moritz on December 9, 2017

French ski star Tessa Worley is counting no chickens before February's Winter Olympics, instead backing her packed day-to-day racing schedule as the best preparation for an event she missed out on last time around.

Rather than easing off racing with an eye on Pyeongchang, the 28-year-old two-time world giant slalom champion said she was trying to pick up her confidence by testing her boundaries, notably in the super-G, an event which will be run twice this weekend in Val d'Isere.

"I'm not really thinking about the Olympics," said Worley, who saw her hopes of competing in Sochi in 2014 go up in smoke with knee ligament damage just weeks before she was due to head to Russia.

"I'm more focused on the race weekend here and everything that's going to happen in the next few days. The Olympics are still a little bit far off for me.

"In any case my best preparation comes from really focusing on the race in hand to get super ready for when the Games come."

Worley added: "There is no race management when it comes to planning for the Olympics. I think that, on the contrary, you have to push the limits a little bit and gain confidence from giving maximum commitment to get to the Games.

"Everything is possible at the Olympics, it's a one-day race. You can pitch up on the back of an average season and then be very good at that moment."

- Fresh and rested -

Worley insisted that her time in Val d'Isere had been beneficial despite the two downhill training runs having been cancelled because of high winds and heavy snow.

The fact training was scrapped now means there will be no downhill raced on the weekend as International Ski Federation (FIS) rules demand that racers must actually train on the downhill course for it to go ahead.

A super-G, however, demands just a pre-race course inspection.

"My plan was to do one downhill training and then really save myself for the super-G and giant. In the end I did no downhill training so I've kept fresh and rested up," said Worley, whose mother is French and father Australian.

The racer, with 11 giant slalom wins (and 21 top-three placings) in 11 years on the World Cup circuit, admitted that expanding her repertoire from the more technical discipline to the super-G was a serious thing.

"Since last year the super-G has become not a second discipline but a priority.

"It has become a strong discipline, like the giant. I want to perform, to best prepare myself.

"My goal is to be able to do both disciplines correctly and in a very efficient way."

Worley has the perfect chance to show off her broadened expertise on the weekend, when her giant slalom skills should thrive on a much-shortened super-G course that promises to be more of a sprint than expected.