Italian speed specialist Werner Heel was the 3rd-ranked downhill racer two years ago but in the 2011/12 season, he only scored 10 points in downhill and 35 in super-G, finishing 45th in the downhill rankings, 35th in super-G and 97th in the overall. Determined to get back to where he was, Heel has moved from Head to Atomic and is training hard for the World Championship season.
Q: The last two seasons were not exactly easy on you – but now you are about to launch a new try with Atomic as partner. How is it going?
Werner Heel: Yes, that’s true. The last two seasons were not easy on me but in retrospective I also learned much from it, including something positive. Now I am giving it a new try with Atomic, which feels good. I am looking forward to this new challenge and will work hard, as I did in the last two seasons, to catch up and return to the top. The first workouts on snow were very promising and the new team around me is working really hard and making a great impression.
Q. Are you otherwise healthy, fit and motivated?
WH: Yes I am both healthy and motivated. The only difference is that I am not motivated the same way as I was last year. I have learned from my mistakes, which was an important lesson for me. And I did take very long holidays with Manuela - which was fantastic! :-)Q. What are your goals for 2013?
WH: Given my current starting point, I will be satisfied if I qualify for the World Championships. The most important thing for me however is to get back up there and improve my starting numbers bit by bit. I am convinced that in good conditions and when I’m in shape, everything is possible.Q. You are now part of FISI’s so-called Team 'National Interest'. What does that really mean?
WH: This team really only exists on paper, thankfully. I am, as before, 100% integrated into the team and can participate in the full program.Q. You are a passionate mountain biker. We trust you are presently best found on the trails in your home mountains in South Tyrol or how are you training these days?
WH: Yes that is true. I love to mountain bike. For me that is more of a hobby than training. If you are on vacation near Merano or the Passeier Valley, it is quite likely that you run into me in the woods or on one of the Passeier peaks. This year we also trained with the team on the island of Elba and in Cesenatico. It was also fun to go mountain biking there.
Q. We hear that you are also a "die-hard" Formula 1 fan. The 2012 season is more exciting than it has been in years. Who is your favorite?
WH: I have to admit that I am almost an F1 fanatic. I check for the latest news on the Internet almost daily. This season is especially exciting and I think the one who makes the fewest mistakes will take the title in the end. My tip and personal favorite is of course Fernando Alonso, although I also really like Sebastian Vettel. Let’s wait and see but I surely won’t miss a race and will be cheering all the way to the end.Q. How about the Euro 2012?
WH: I am not a big football fan but of course I hope that Italy will keep going the way they have been and bring the title home. Let’s hope at least... :-)