For the first time in her career, Petra Vlhova has started in every World Cup ski race this season. It was a calculated strategy modeled off the success of Tina Maze, who shattered all the points records in pursuit of her overall title in 2013. But the model may not soon be replicated, according to coach Livio Magoni, who acknowledged the strategy should have been more surgical in managing the Slovak’s calendar this winter.
“We made a lot of mistakes this winter,” Magoni told Blick. “The dream of the whole nation (Slovakia) is for Petra to win the overall ranking of the World Cup. It didn’t work out last season and now the pressure is even greater.”
The ultimate goal, of course, for Vlhova is winning the big crystal globe. If she scores well in Are, Sweden, this weekend, the overall title would definitely be in sight as she enters World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Vlhova, with 1,220 points, currently sits behind overall leader Lara Gut-Behrami with 1,256 points. It’s a slim 36-point margin and a schedule that favors the slalom skier.
“Maybe we should have missed one or two races to recharge our flashlights,” said Magoni. “Just like Mikaela Shiffrin once did. However, I kept asking Petra if she was tired. She said no. He is physically in a good mood, but it is also about head fatigue.”
When asked if he blames himself for the scheduling error, Magoni replied, “I am the head coach and I am responsible. … Recently, Petra’s father told me that the silver medal in the world slalom championships was nice, but the overall ranking in the World Cup will be decisive.”