MONT-SAINTE-ANNE, QUE. (June 22, 2012) – Ski cross world champion Chris Del Bosco is getting a jump on his rivals by spending a second-straight summer racing on two wheels.
The 30-year-old, a resident of Montreal, Que., was a two-sport athlete growing up – and a former downhill mountain biking U.S. national champion – before he made the decision to focus full-time on skiing. Last summer he got back on his mountain bike to complement his off-season conditioning program and this year he’s planning to take part in a few key bike races to help him prepare for a crucial ski cross season that includes the 2013 world championship and an Olympic test event in Sochi, Russia. The ski cross World Cup season kicks off in Nakiska, Alta., from Dec. 6-8.
“We are heading into Olympic selection next fall so I’m doing more of a limited selection this year – a few (mountain bike) races, a little bit of cross training,” Del Bosco said.
“Doing the two sports thing has always been part of who I am. At this point I can’t really commit huge amounts of time to the biking so I got a little bit of a late start this year. I have no real expectations. I’m kind of just at a point where I want to go out and compete with these guys and just get some good training in.”
Del Bosco took part in his first major mountain bike race of the summer on Friday at the UCI (International Cycling Union) Mountain Bike World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que. He was having a great qualification run until a mistake near the end saw him finish 117th – with only the top 80 going through to Sunday’s finals.
“I had a decent run until the second to last berm and missed the cut,” Del Bosco said. “My splits were decent. Oh well …”
Del Bosco, the 2012 X Games skier-X gold medallist, finished 52nd in last year’s mountain bike World Cup race in Mont-Sainte-Anne. He also competed at a World Cup race in Windham, USA, but suffered equipment troubles and didn't make it past qualifying. The highlight of his summer season was finishing second in downhill at the Canadian championships and being named to the Canadian team for the world mountain bike championships in Champéry, Switzerland.
“This summer I was planning to just race the two (World Cups – Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham), then the national championships,” Del Bosco said. “It’s another challenge, a chance to push myself - another way to get outside my comfort zone.
“Everything seems to be pretty good. I’m back in the gym and riding my bike a bit - just staying healthy and getting strong. Once the season starts there’s not a lot of time for maintenance and training.”
Del Bosco, who plans to attend his first ski camp of the summer in Mount Hood, USA, in August, is working on getting stronger this year in a bid to improve his ski cross starts. He has a reputation for being one of if not the best in the world at passing or moving up during ski cross races but hasn’t always been as consistently good at starts.
Although he’s heading into a big ski cross season that includes trying to defend his world championship title, Sochi 2014 is very much in Del Bosco’s thoughts. The veteran famously crashed out of the men’s ski cross final at the Vancouver Games in 2010 when he found himself sitting in the bronze medal position and decided to go for gold. He ended up fourth.
“I don’t have any regrets about that but after Vancouver, I reflected on it and I definitely know a little bit more about what to expect heading in to Sochi,” Del Bosco said. “The Olympics is an amazing event. You train for three and a half years just to make it to one event, one shot. I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with the setup at the test event in February.”
An Olympic medal is the only thing missing from Del Bosco’s ski cross trophy cabinet but for now he’s focusing on racing on two wheels and preparing for the upcoming season.
“I’ve always done the biking because I think it crosses over well into ski cross,” Del Bosco said. “I’m not expecting anything in terms of results (in mountain biking) but the skiing is pretty intense and I definitely have a lot of expectations in that.
“I’ve been training pretty hard and getting ready to give it another go. It’s a pretty busy ski cross schedule next year but racing is my favourite part – it’s good to have a race every weekend.”
For more information about the 2012 Nakiska Ski Cross World Cup, go to http://www.alpinecanada.org/nakiskaskicrossworldcup.
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