STA, 16 November 2018 - The Ski Jumping World Cup season will start this weekend in Poland's Wisla without Slovenia's best jumper Peter Prevc, who needs additional training following his recovery from two ankle surgeries. Timi Zajc, a 18-year-old talent who stood out during the summer, is now the main hope of the Slovenian team, which has a new headcoach.
Prevc, who dominated the 2016 World Cup like no other before him, went through a slump in the last two seasons, but was still Slovenia's best jumper last year in 15th place overall.
Ankle issues cost him the entire preparation period for the new season and Prevc was only able to make his first jumps at the end of October.
Asked when he expects to return to the circuit, Prevc, whose ankle is still not at 100 percent, explained "the predictions are changing fast currently".
"Somewhere between Kuusamo (24 November) and Engelberg (15 December)... The 4-Hill tournament (31 December) is what I consider may last train for the season. I think I should have enough jumps and confidence by then.
"But my goal is not 28th or 32nd place. When my jumps allow me to be among the top 15, I will return without reservations," the 26-year-old has told the STA.
Meanwhile, the team's modest results in the last season ended a seven-year period under headcoach Goran Janus, who led Slovenian jumpers to a spectacular 46 World Cup victories.
Janus has been succeeded by Gorazd Bertoncelj, who has made some changes in the preparation period, for instance letting as many as 17 jumpers compete during the summer cup.
The only one to stand out among the Slovenians was Zajc, who made his World Cup debut in the last season, when his top result was a 12th place.
The remaining jumpers to start the season in Wisla are veteran Jernej Damjan along with Anže Semenič, Anže Lanišek, Žak Mogel, Bor Pavlovčič and Tomaž Naglič.
Bertoncelj has been very open about his goals this season: "We want one jumper among the top 6 in the final overall rankings, another one among the top 15, while we also wish to have eight podium finishes during the season."
"Meanwhile, the biggest goal is a medal at the World Championship in Seefeld and of course a podium finish at the season final at home in Planica," he announced.