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Melanie Turgeon, defending world champion, ends season


Melanie Turgeon, defending world champion, ends season{mosimage}SANTA CATERINA (Italy) – After missing Thursday’s downhill event in Santa Caterina, Melanie Turgeon announced today that she decided to put an end to her World Cup season.

The 28-year-old skier explained that her back was in good shape, but in order to come back to the top of her form, she needed an extensive training program rather than to take part in official races. Along with her coaches, she came to the conclusion that she needed more time on the slopes in order to kick off next season on solid ground.

“The lack of training caught up with me,” said Turgeon. “It was time to change our game plan. Things went relatively well in Lake Louise to start the season because I had four good training runs during the week. But once we traveled to Europe, things changed because of the lack of snow and the lack of training. My results were less and less satisfying.

“I will therefore put an end to my season, come back home but continue to train and ski, and then I will join the national team in May for training camp and start building for next year.

“No, I am not retiring,” insisted Turgeon. “I still love to ski. I want to come back, and I want to come back strong. That’s my objective.”

“The team is happy she found a solution,” said Hugues Ansermoz, the Canadian women’s team head coach. “In top form, she’s the leader of this team, so we’ll miss her. The others will have to take a leadership role.”

“Normally, optimal preparation time is 55 to 60 days, but with Mélanie, considering her situation, she had always been able to get away with less,” said Piotr Jelen, the head discipline coach for the speed team. “But yesterday (Wednesday), we looked at the videos and we said to ourselves that things couldn’t go on like this.”

Turgeon missed the entire 2003-2004 alpine skiing World Cup season due to herniated disks in her back. She raced in the first five speed events of the present season (two downhills, three Super-G). Her best result was a 16th-place finish in Lake Louise.

The Canadian skier will therefore be unable to defend her world championship title in women’s downhill, which she won on February 9, 2003 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The upcoming World Championships will take place January 29 to February 13 in Bormio, Italy.

“The way things are right now, I wouldn’t have been able to defend my title anyway,” admitted Turgeon. “I didn’t have the tools to do it.”

Four American women in top 15 at Santa Caterina; Cook recoveringLindsey Kildow leads World Cup downhill standings

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