Dave Ryding is adamant he can compete with the globes finest and is targeting a top-20 finish at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Austria after a fine season to date.
The 26-year-old has headed to Schladming in excellent form in the slalom event having finished third and second on his last two outings in the Europa Cup in Kirchberg and Arber.
Those performances, along with a fourth in Pozza and a third at a city event in San Vigilio, helped to move Ryding up to second in the Europa Cup standings for the slalom.
He credits such results to a change in attitude following the aftermath of his maiden Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 where he was 27th in the slalom and 47th in the giant slalom.
And, with the Sochi 2014 Olympics now less than a year away and his outing at the World Championships fast approaching, Ryding is determined to further improve his performances.
“I went to Vancouver not in great shape and not in great form so I didn’t do as well as I had hoped,” said Ryding. “It was a very eye-opening experience.
“A light kind of switched on in my head and I realised it’s now or never if I want to improve and match it with these top guys.
“It really made me step up my training. So far I’m doing that so hopefully I can do much better next time.
“I did a lot of training in the summer to get ready for this season. I’ve focused a lot on my strength and fitness because I wasn’t strong enough to even compete.
“I thought that was an area where I can make myself better than these guys, if I work really hard. Ideally I want to be ranked around 40, that’s the aim.
“And the World Championships is the biggest race of the year and all the best guys will be there. Ideally I can finish in the top 20.”
Ryding has competed at two World Championships in his career finishing a best of 41st in Val d’Isere in 2009 and 39th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2011 – both in the giant slalom.
However he will take to the slopes at the World Championships in Schladming just for the slalom on Sunday – an event in which he is solely focussing on at present.
“Right now it’ll just be the slalom,” he added. “With slalom being so competitive at the moment and it being quite a different technique to giant slalom I just thought I’ll concentrate on the slalom and really push that forward and right now that’s working.
“I can ski as well as a lot of guys. It all depends how you ski on the day. You could have your best day but a few other people can also have their best day.”
© Sportsbeat 2013