The FIL Luge World Cup on Natural Track 2019/2020 was one of a kind: on the one hand, the mild winter messed up the race calendar right at the start, and on the other hand, four athletes fought for the overall victory until the final. Here is the review of FIL Director Sport and Technology, Andreas Castiglioni.
FIL: Looking back, what is your season balance sheet?
Andreas Castiglioni: “We already had to postpone the start of the World Cup – this is what I think spontaneously. But that was the situation. After 2 weeks of winter it got warm and in Winterleiten (AUT) the track literally melted away. On arrival day, the outside temperature was sometimes at +14 degrees Celsius, most of the time the thermometer showed double-digit degrees - an insanity for mid-December. So, that’s the reason why World Cup just started at the beginning of January 2020 and the conditions in Winterleiten were great. ”
FIL: For the first time, the team competition was held in a new format. An improvement?
Andreas Castiglioni: “Right at the start in Winterleiten we had the first team competition in the new format scheduled, the new formula with two singles (at least one woman) was very well received. It is much better that way, also because more nations can take part, since not every nation had a doubles. For example, Argentina achieve great results in the team competition. And right at the start in Winterleiten, Germany was on the podium for the first time in the team competition. Just for comparison: with the old formula there were seven to eight teams at the start, now there are on average 12 teams. This is clearly an upgrade! "
Team Argentina with Renzo Atance Conde and Tamara Fissore at the final in Umhausen (AUT)
FIL: The second stop was Passeier (ITA).
Andreas Castiglioni: “The World Cup in Moos was a festival for the entire Passeier Valley. From a sporting point of view, the "Grünboden"-track was in perfect condition, the organizing committee did a great job. There was also the only pursuit race on the program, also in the new format. The pursuit was a bit lengthy at the beginning, there we have to improve. One consideration is to insert a qualification run the day before and on raceday we start with the quarter finals. We also have to come up with a name, because many sports journalists set up a pursuit race such as cross-country skiing. "
Home win for Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) in Passeier (ITA)
FIL: How were the races in Romania?
Andreas Castiglioni: “Vatra Dornei is always an experience. It started a bit tough this time because the track was not completely finished. But then it was a great event, great weather and a surprising number of spectators were on the track. In my opinion it was the best Vatra Dornei ever. ”
FIL: The classic in Deutschnofen marked a preliminary decision in the fight for overall victory, right?
Andreas Castiglioni: “Deutschnofen was first class as usual, everything worked out from A-Z. It's just like that with a classic. The result in the men's singles was certainly a surprise. With the victory of Thomas Kammerlander (AUT) he made a big step towards the overall globe fort he World Cup 2019/2020."
FIL: The races from Zelezniki (SLO) had to be moved to Laas (ITA). A good decision?
Andreas Castiglioni: “First of all, it was a necessary decision. The track in Zelezniki was damaged by warm temperatures, there was absolutely no chance to compete. In Laas was a Junior World Cup shortly before and so it was a logical decision. The ASC Laas thus had a week to organize the World Cup, the guys mastered this mammoth task extremely well - especially since there were also plus degrees in Laas a few days before the race. The work on the track done in the past two years has been successful, now it is a contemporary track on which it is very difficult to be very fast. In any case, after a five-year break, Laas celebrated a terrific comeback on the World Cup stage. ”
Second victory for Michael Scheikl (AUT) at Laas (ITA)
FIL: The World Cup came to an end in Umhausen (AUT). Was the final the expected highlight?
Andreas Castiglioni: “Umhausen was definitely the highlight of the season, and a milestone was set with the livestream. It was no longer "just" the broadcast of the races, but a five-hour broadcast on Saturday evening with analyzes, discussions with experts, etc. Via Facebook five channels streamed, via YouTube four and on television in three channels. The dress rehearsal for the 2021 World Championship was more than successful; the new buildings move Umhausen to a whole new level. ”
Thomas Kammerlander (AUT) celebrating his overall victory at the final in Umhausen (AUT)
FIL: Your conclusion of the season?
Andreas Castiglioni: “We had two differen winners in women’s singles, 4 athletes were on the podium. We had three different winners for the men’s singles, two for the doubles. And in the team competition there were two winners and four nations were on the podium. It was an extremely exciting season, especially in men’s singles where four athletes fought for victory in the overall World Cup until the final. Every race was a real thriller ”.
Pavel Porshnev and Ivan Lazarev (RUS) in the doubles