Baggio’s Pyeongchang dream inches closer

Max Baggio. Picture: Geoffrey Vabre

Max Baggio. Picture: Geoffrey Vabre - Credit: Archant

Max Baggio admits his Pyeongchang dream burns slightly brighter following a week at the Delancey British Alpine Ski Championships that saw him become the talk of Tignes.

The 19-year-old would have needed to sign up for extra baggage allowance on the flight back home after taking away all manner of trinkets and trophies from the French Alps.

Most impressive of that collection is the Sir John Ritblat Victor Ludorum trophy – awarded to the overall winner – after lifting British Super-G, Downhill and Ski Club of Great Britain Challenge Cup titles earlier in the week.

At one point it looked like he could keep British No.1 Dave Ryding honest in the Slalom, only for it to prove the one National Championship race he couldn’t finish.

But Baggio certainly came away with much credit in the bank and is one to follow closely as attentions slowly zone in on Pyeongchang 2018.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Baggio hasn’t figured out which discipline his strengths are best suited to after his hat-trick in Tignes – yet one attribute he has in abundance is the perseverance to make Pyeongchang a distinct possibility.

“At the moment I just want to keep doing what I’m doing as I’m doing well over all four disciplines, but if there’s a point where I’m really excelling in one then I’ll make that decision,” he said. “Right now it’s a good thing to keep my options open.

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“If at the end of next season I’ve made a lot of progress, then I’ll definitely be thinking about going for Pyeongchang.

“I just have to fully dedicate myself as I’ve been doing and try and get my points down. I play some rugby for Harpenden and though I never switch off from my skiing, it can be mentally draining and it’s good to have that break. I’ll probably carry on playing it for as long as I can.

“One of the next steps will be to race in the Europa Cup, I want to do at least a couple next season and maybe more than that if I do well – then there would be the World Cup. So there are a lot of things I can aim for.”

Baggio’s season as a whole has been promising, a series of impressive Slalom finishes in Finland to start the year slightly dimmed by a run of DNFs.

The unflappable teenager, however, is the type of character likely to be kept up awake at about the prospect of what he can do next – rather than stewing on what could have been.

“It’s the best I’ve performed at a British Championships and to get the overall title was pretty amazing,” added Baggio.

“I wasn’t necessarily thinking about achieving it beforehand – I just wanted to do well – but I was quite relaxed going into the week.

“I was calm with how I was going, so that definitely helped. It’s a step in the right direction, it shows how much I’ve improved over the last year and it’s brought my confidence up a little bit.

“At the start of the season the slalom was going really well and I’d got my best results, then I was a bit unlucky in some races and didn’t do so well.

“But I had a good training block leading up to the Championships and felt a big improvement, and I hadn’t scored anything in the GS until last week. It’s good to show that I’m building in that way.”

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