The curtain falls on a difficult but still positive season for the representative of the Centro Sportivo Esercito of Courmayeur, able to win the World Cup Team Sprint in Sweden and to arrive ever so close to individual victory as this year in Val di Fiemme at Tour de Ski.
Gressoney Saint-Jean, Italy – Apr. 04th 2021 • Francesco De Fabiani's 2021 season ended with the Italian Championships at Passo Cereda. A season that, as is well known, would have been not a little influenced by the problems linked to the world pandemic.
Cross-country skiing is no exception, which has certainly paid its duty since the beginning of the season, with the complicated choice of the Norwegians who deserted much of the World Cup from the Davos round, so much so as to "give a new physiognomy to the challenge”, «I understand the problems, known to all – says Defast – but I don't know if all the Norwegians really agreed not to race».
From the purely technical side «The season certainly started better than the previous one, we solved the back problems that had plagued me in November 2019 and that had made the first part of the season difficult – adds Francesco – even if I didn't start "with a bang", I had a good approach to the Tour de Ski, but it did not start well for me, since I immediately accumulated a delay in the first rounds».
Val di Fiemme, as expected, once again proved to be the "ideal" location to look for the coup, which for a very short time was not achieved in the 15 km in classic: «For the second time I had to settle for second place behind Bolshunov, betrayed by the long final straight. If with Klæbo, two years ago it was almost taken for granted that I would lose the sprint, this year, without the Norwegian, I really believed it».
Apart from the second place in Lago di Tesero, the other satisfactions came from the splendid success paired with Federico Pellegrino in Sweden in the Team Sprint, as well as another podium in the same format and a 5th place in Davos, which was followed by a top 10, almost top 5 to be honest, always in a 15 km classic: «I did not have continuity at a high level, also due to some technical problems that occurred on Cermis, in the Engadine and not least at the Italian championships, but from today we turn the page, my gaze is turned to 2022 and the motivation is already strong».
De Fabiani badly digested the failure of the world championship in Oberstdorf: «I expected more, winning at least one medal was almost mandatory, but if I look back I see a sprint in classic in which I fell, but in which, given the state of form, I could have hoped for to get into the 10 and maybe get to the final. Team Sprint, despite Pellegrino and I, gave everything, left us empty-handed and perhaps the misfortune of ending up in the second heat didn't help us. Not to mention my dream, the 50 Km, in which, due to the well-known events related to Covid, I was not even able to participate».
And precisely with regard to Covid and management of the races, the CSE cross-country skier "acquits" the FIS: «It was not easy for us athletes, for the staff, much less for the International Federation, which many times made choices that were not totally acceptable (see race calendar), however I think it gave its best to optimize and manage the events in such a complicated period».
Finally, the thoughts of Francesco De Fabiani are towards the fans: «I would like to thank them individually, they followed me from home and encouraged me on social networks in a commendable way, thanks to everyone, really».
Press Office of Francesco De Fabiani
Written by Paolo Mei
Translated by Nicolò Caneparo