World Cup Season Kicks Off in Davos

Exactly three years after making his World Cup debut in Davos, Switzerland, Callum Watson lined up this weekend to kick off the European racing season for 2011/2012. Early preparations for the 22-year-old athlete began in November in Anchorage, Alaska, before moving to one of Europe’s only pieces of (artificial) snow in Davos. The lack of snow meant a short, overcrowded track was the only skiing option and an unfortunate collision with another skier a week ago meant a trip to the hospital for Watson, with suspected broken ribs. Luckily the ribs were only bruised, and determined to race this weekend, Watson got straight back in to the training, completing two interval sessions.

On Saturday morning things began well, Watson said “I started off just the way I wanted to, nice and relaxed and conservative as the plan was to ease into it and try and dig in deeper towards the end”. However, experiencing severe cramping in his diaphragm and difficulty breathing, Callum had to call it a day around the 15km mark. With the bruising around his ribs altering his breathing, Callum’s diaphragm was overworked, causing additional pain and cramping. After an evening with the physio, Callum said, “I knew that I would be able to get through a short sprint without too much hassle, and this got me excited once again to not hold back.”

The next day things were looking up, with fast skis thanks to wax tech Fabian Mauz. No complaints from Callum, who described the race as probably his second best sprint performance in a World Cup. Finishing 87th in the time trial, Watson was able to give it his all, with the chest problems kicking in only after the sprint was over. Russia’s Alexey Petukhov won the sprint final, followed by Peterson and Joensson of Sweden. The women’s sprint was won by the USA’s Kikkan Randall, with Russia’s Matveeva and Norway’s Falla rounding out the places.

The World Cup heads to Slovenia this weekend, where Watson hopes to race free of injury after a week of physio treatment.

Link to report from Callum Watson’s blog

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