Nations Cup Position: 11
Women: 1880pts (6th)
With the departure of women’s superstar and ambassador to the sport; Petra Majdic, most countries would be reeling from the loss, but Slovenia is the exception. The country has made massive gains in the past couple years for their women’s team with Fabjan and Visnar showing they are top quality athletes.
The retirees don’t get any bigger than this; Petra Majdic was a skier that was loved by all; coaches, fans, fellow competitors and teammates. Here big grin on the start line will be missed by all, but mostly by the Slovenian team that put a lot of their successes in the hands of Majdic. Her 33 World Cup podiums is something that very few have done and she leaves the sport fourth all-time in wins, only behind Bjørgen, Valbe, and Skari.
MEN’S DISTANCE & SPRINT
Nothing really to report here; there were 114 men who score points in sprints and 108 in the distance and none of them flew the Slovenian flag.
The rapid rise of the Slovenian female sprinters (not named Majdic) has been nothing short of impressive. Both Visnar (8th) and Fabjan (9th) are some of the most consistent sprinters in the world right now. Fabjan is an out-and-out freestyle sprint specialist while Visnar shows she can perform in both disciplines. Between the two of them, they reached the semi-finals nine times, including a historical day in Rybinsk when they went 1-2 on the podium. Both are approaching the pinnacle age (Visnar is 27 and Fabjan is 26) and will be looking to continue to improve to reach podium on a regular occasion now.
Alenka Cebasek is a name that will become familiar to World Cup hard-cores this year. The 22-year old had a few strong races on the Alpen Cup last year and was the top qualifier in a couple of the races and should become a World Cup regular this season. Last season was highlighted with a 13th place in Rybinsk.
With no Majdic, Slovenia has nothing in terms of quality distance skiers for the year. Barbara Jezersek will lead the way on this front, but her 26 points from three races last year will have to be improved on and at the age of 25-years old, it’s her time to step up. Miriam Cossettini is the other woman to head the distance team. An Alpen Cup regular, she’s notched up numerous top 10’s on that circuit, but will be hard-pressed to score points regularly on the World Cup this year.
The next generation of both male and female skiers looks promising for Slovenia. For the men, it’s the 19-year old Rok Trsan who impressed at the World Juniors and had a phenomenal 20km pursuit in which he finished 4th and just missed the medals by a mere three seconds. He’s still a few years away from World Cup readiness though.
The women have a few sprinters that look to be destined for the big leagues. At World Juniors, Slovenia put three women in the top 30 (Anamarija Limpic – 16th, Anja Erzen – 22nd , Nika Ranzinger – 29th). The most impressive is Limpic has already scored FIS points as low as 67 and who was born in 1995, which gives her many years to develop into a top talent, perhaps the next Majdic?
Slovenia will continue to stick to their guns for the next few years, and that’s their female sprinters. Expect those crazy-loud Slovenian suits to be up on the sprint podium a few time this year. As for everything else (men’s distance and sprints and women’s distance), it looks like it’s a long ways away from putting up decent results.