We’ve heard Minnaar’s perspective on the upcoming race at Schladming (read it here) now lets see what Sam Hill has to say:
After a result in Canberra at the penultimate round of the UCI World Cup, that by his own admission was a disappointment, reigning World Cup Champion Sam Hill (Team Monster Energy Iron Horse) is keen to get back on the race course in Schladming and defend his series title.
Currently lying in 2nd place in the overall series despite having worn the leader’s jersey for longer than anyone else this year, Sam knows that Schladming is a course that he can dominate on and put the memories of Canberra behind him.
Sam – “You know, my race run in Canberra was nearly perfect. I felt like I rode the technical bits really well and had a good flow down the track so naturally I’m disappointed with my result there but I know what I need to work on for next year now.”
The 11th place in the final, against main rival Greg Minnaar’s win, means that Sam has a 116 point deficit going into the finals, with 250 points to play for. Schladming is a steep and rooty course that has been Sam’s territory since 2005, having had 3 wins there, one third of his career tally. A win this weekend would take his World Cup win tally to 10, and put pressure on his main rival for a strong result to have any chance of winning the Championship.
Sam – “I’m really excited to be racing in Austria again for the finals. It’s my favourite track on the circuit and I feel confident that I can win there. I’m pretty much just going to Schladming to win the semi final and the final; I know that’s what I have to do to have a shot at the Championship and if I can win those then it’s up to Minnaar to deal with the pressure and have a fast run.”
Meanwhile team mate Brendan Fairclough, who is much more suited to the steep inclines of Schladming than the Canberran topography, or lack of, is keen to end his 2008 season on a high.
Brendan – “Canberra was worse than I expected. The track was flat and unchallenging with a flat 45 second pedal in the mud at the bottom. My race run was good in the final and the qualifier, I got the top section as good as I could have asked for but I feel all my speed and time were lost in the bottom section of the track. I felt like I could pedal but I just had no power to pedal through the mud.
I’m really quite upset with my result and have lost a lot of points from it but now I know how much work I have to put in in the winter to get a decent result on that track for the Worlds next year. A lot!!!!
Austria is one of the best tracks on the whole circuit and I always look forward to it. The track is steep and technical with a lot of roots and mud. I’m really looking for a podium spot here it’s been too long since I’ve been top 5 and would like to be up there with Sam at the last race of the year. My goal was to be top 5 this year but I have not managed to do this so I’m just going to go for a good position here and come back next year stronger with the same goal in mind.”
The team arrives in Schladming in the next couple of days and looks forward to a successful weekend and a continuation of Sam’s domination on the legendary track in the Austrian mountains.
Hill says he’s going to Schladming to win the qualifier and the race