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RYDING READY FOR LEVI - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Tuesday November 13, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The first men's World Cup ski race of the season takes place in Levi, Finland on Sunday. GB's Dave Ryding will be in action.UPDATED

Deep inside the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Dave 'The Rocket' Ryding's 2018-19 campaign is about to get under way.

Levi is one of the British slalom specialist's favourite courses and he's hoping he can get his season off to a good start.

Two years ago he finished 6th there - then a career best result.

Last year he was leading after the first run and on course for a historic win before crashing out on the second run.

"There is a bit of unfinished business, but I try not to dwell on it too much. Last year is done and you've got to move on, but we're in a pretty solid place right now," said Ryding on the eve of the race.

"It's the first race of the season so you don't know where everyone else is at, but I've had a good preparation - no massive differences to what we've done in the past but I feel better in the body which is good."

PlanetSKI spoke to Ryding at the start of October about his goals for the coming winter.

In a frank video interview he told us that last season was 'tough' but now was the time to get back on the podium. 

Dave RydingRyding is ready to push for podiums

Finishing outside the top 10 would be a disappointment, he said.

"Anything less is not really where I want to be, so I won't be satisfied with that.... we've got to push on for more podiums and try to clock up a few more this season".

Last winter he picked up a handful of top 10s including 9th at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

But he's so far been unable to match that remarkable silver medal from Kitzbühel in January 2017.

It was the best result for a British ski racer in 36 years.

It helped him end the 2016-17 season ranked 8th in the world.

His aim is to better that.

Here's another chance to hear what Dave Ryding had to say to us about last season and the one that's about to start:

The course at Levi for this weekend's slalom races has been prepared with the help of artificial snow.

A total of 40,000 cubic metres of snow was stored in May in preparation for the race.

Stored snow in Levi Stored snow in Levi this summer

It was spread onto the Levi Black race course in October.

On 8th November, when the International Ski Federation inspectors gave the go-ahead for the race, the course was 80% stored snow and 20% man-made snow.

Last weekend the slope was injected with water to turn the surface icy hard ready for racing. 

It's so cold there overnight that it should be perfect for racing.

12th Levi World CupThe 12th Levi World Cup is nearly here

The women's slalom is on Saturday, the men's on Sunday.

The first runs are scheduled for 11.15am local time, with the second at 2.15pm.

In the men's race Dave Ryding will be joined by teammate and rising GB star, Laurie Taylor.

Laurie Taylor, c/o Vanessa Fry photographyLaurie Taylor, c/o Vanessa Fry photography

"I've been doing it on my own for the last seven years, so I didn't know what it was going to be like having Laurie around, whether it would effect the way we do things but it's been the opposite - I'm grateful he's here with me now," said Ryding.

"He's a good guy, he does what he needs to do and has the right focus."

Laurie's been producing a series of video blogs from behind the scenes in the British camp. 

Here's his latest, featuring him and Ryding:

Elsewhere GB snow sports athletes have been in action with more over the weekend.

FIS Cross Country Races, Beitostolen NOR - Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November

While this weekend's cross country event in Beitostolen is not a World Cup, the entire Norwegian national team are vying for World Cup selection.

This brings a high standard of competition and provides the British contingent a good idea of where they are at going into the start of a long 2018/19 campaign.

Andrew Musgrave led the British charge in the classic races, finishing seventh in the men's 15km amongst a field laden with Olympic medallists.

Andrew Young finished 31st out of 146 starters, while Annika Taylor was the leading Brit in the ladies' 10km in 21st; Nichole Bathe was 33rd.

Saturday's skate sprint will feature all four of today's competitors as well as James Clugnet while Musgrave, Young, Clugnet and Taylor are scheduled to start Sunday's 10km/15km skate races.

Andrew Musgrave, Beitostolen Classic 15kmAndrew Musgrave, Beitostolen Classic 15km

IPC Para Snowboard World Cup, Landgraaf NED - Wednesday 14 & Thursday 15 November

On Wednesday, PyeongChang Paralympian James Barnes-Miller opened the World Cup season with a fourth-place finish in Landgraaf, just 0.11sec away from a first-ever podium in snowboard banked slalom (upper-limb impairment).

He also recorded a top 10 finish yesterday in yesterday's second race.

In the lower-limb impairment 2 category, Andy MacLeod made his World Cup debut and scored a ninth-place finish on Wednesday amongst a field stacked with Paralympians.

He finished further back in the field in Thursday's race but proved he has what it takes to cut it at the top level.

The snowboard results continue a strong run of British form in Landgraaf after 15-year-old visually-impaired skier Nick Simpson (and sighted guide, brother Andrew Simpson) finished first and third in a pair of Europa Cup slalom races last week.

Here at PlanetSKI we'll let you know how everyone gets on over the weekend so do check back...

MAIN PHOTO: by @laurietaylorski

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