The alpine from Gressoney conquers the podium in the World Cup Team Sprint in Livigno, paired with a stratospheric Federico Pellegrino, beaten only by France.
Livigno, Italy – Jan. 23rd 2023 • De Fabiani – Pellegrino, two names, two guarantees. Italy again on the podium in fast formats and this time at high altitude and moreover in Italy, in Livigno, which hosted the World Cup for the first time in the history.
The two days of the Cup, initially planned for City Life in Milan (later canceled due to energy costs), took place on high ground, in the “Little Tibet” plateau and did not spare emotions in a freezing cold, with peaks at -19 degrees.
Saturday's Sprint in free technique left only disappointment for Defast, who didn't reach the qualification, due to a bad day.
On Sunday, however, the white circus of cross-country skis was preparing for the first Team Sprint in history with the new regulation and qualification based on the sum of the times of the 2 team members on the single session and relative passage to the final for the best 15 teams.
Ready-Steady-Go and De Fabiani starts with number 1: «It wasn't my best qualifying, indeed it was very disappointing. After all, I already knew that short effort is not in my DNA. Luckily Chicco set the best time and we made it to the final».
The final went differently, with the Alpine from the Centro Sportivo Esercito of Courmayeur, much more brilliant and reactive: «I got off to a very good start and realized I was feeling better, also driven by the atmosphere of the fans on the side of the course who cheered us on. I knew that my job from "distance" would have been to not lose ground from the leaders and bring Federico into the best possible position to be able to compete in the sprint».
After two very tactical rounds, there was the fall of Norway, which set the moment of the lead extension. Thanks to the "traffic in the transition area", Italia 1 (De Fabiani and Pellegrino) lost a few meters, but Defast hasn’t lost his motivation: «I managed to close the gap with the leaders right on the downhill slope by working a lot with my legs and I kicked off Pellegrino who knew how to do his job in the best possible way, finishing second behind France and ahead of the surprising Switzerland».
So there are 2 podiums for De Fabiani in 2023, both obtained in January, the first in Val di Fiemme at the Tour de Ski and the second, indeed, in Livigno; therefore the team podiums in Francesco's career rise to 5, while 10 are the individual podiums, among which a victory in the individual world cup and one as a team, in addition to the world bronze of the Seefelds, always with Pellegrino.
Press Office of Francesco De Fabiani
Written by Paolo Mei
Translated by Nicolò Caneparo