11/23/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/23/2019 13:03
After a decade of having to settle for second best, it's now or never for Dave Ryding.
Ryding is Britain's top alpine skier - notching a pair of World Cup silver medals over the years - but having spent his career thus far competing alongside the great Marcel Hirscher, he has had to do everything the hard way.
Luckily for Ryding, the Austrian retired earlier this year, bringing an end to a remarkable career which saw him win two Olympic golds, 11 World Championship medals and a record eight successive overall World Cup titles.
The Brit, who races in this season's first Alpine Ski World Cup slalom event at Levi in Finland on Sunday, knows his time is now - and he's more than ready for the challenge.
'When Marcel was racing, you did feel you were aiming for second at best - so the fact he is no longer racing does make it easier for everyone,' said Lancashire-born Ryding.
'If a guy is beating you week in, week out, you start to feel it is an impossible task.
'My aim is to be on the podium at every race this season and my ultimate goal is to win one. It's time to step up now and take more risks.'
Ryding, who has been on the World Cup scene for a decade, has come excruciatingly close to success at World Cup races, finishing second at Kitzbuhel in 2017 and in Oslo last season.
But that doesn't mean he doesn't have what it takes. Last year saw Ryding take silver in the parallel slalom at Oslo, equalling his own record for the best British performance at an Alpine Skiing World Cup event and beating Hirscher along the way.
He also achieved his best World Championship result last season with ninth place in the slalom in Are, Sweden - the same position he came at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 11 months prior.
But this year, he wants even more, and he knows it's the season to do it.
'There's a group of skiers who are very tightly packed together and for sure I can mix it with them,' added the 32-year-old.
'So hopefully I can do it a bit more regularly this year and put myself in place for more podiums.
'I've had two podiums in my career but never two in the same season so that's got to be the aim to get that consistency to get them in the same season.
'I like the hill at Levi, so let's see how this weekend goes.'