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World Cup medalists to lead Canadian charge in Austria

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The Canadian Alpine Ski Team will launch its season at Soelden, Austria this weekend at a pair of giant slalom events.

Canada will be represented by seven men and two women, including past World Cup medalists.

On the men’s side the top athletes to watch include John Kucera, who had three top-10 results in GS last season, three-time GS medalist Francois Bourque, speed specialist Erik Guay, and his younger brother Stefan Guay — who missed last season with a knee injury but was the world junior champion in 2006. Also racing are Julien Cousineau, the Nor-Am Cup overall champion for 2008, Jean-Philippe Roy, and Whistler’s Robbie Dixon.

Dixon is coming off a breakthrough rookie season with the national team where he managed to place fourth and sixth in super G events, as well as a 12 th place finish in a World Cup combined race.

“We will have different expectations of different racers,” said men’s head coach Paul Kristofic. “There are guys who are proven GS contenders, who are skiing quite well at the moment. There are also a couple of younger guys who are in there who will be (gaining) experience and will be pushing for a top-30 position for the first time.”

On the women’s side, Genevieve Simard will return to the World Cup after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Marie-Pier Prefontaine, who placed third in Nor Am Cup GS last season will also be racing.

The speed season will open in late November with Lake Louise Winterstart. Men will be racing downhill and super G events, and women will be racing two downhill races and a super G.

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