Skiing - Ryding keeping busy on the road to Sochi

British slalom skier Dave Ryding is determined to push next year's Olympics out of his thoughts as he prepares to start his World Cup campaign in Finland this weekend.

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Ryding became the first British skier to win an overall title on alpine skiing's second tier Europa Cup circuit last season and is taking that confidence into his campaign for a second Olympic appearance in Sochi.

Last year he finished 26th at the World Cup season opener in Levi and he wants to push himself further up the rankings in what promises to be a busy season.

"World Cup races for me are now about competing rather than just participating and getting the experience," said the 26-year old.

"It's time to push on and regularly crack that top 30, regularly start qualifying for second runs and improve my world ranking and my start position, because that means racing in better conditions.

"Last season has given me the belief that I can mix it with the best skiers in the world. If I ever start to doubt myself then it's a good reference point to remember.

"No British skier has ever won a Europa Cup title and, to be honest, I didn't think I would either. But I've spent so much time on snow in the last four years and that has really paid off."

Ryding is planning on maintaining his busy schedule in the month's ahead, racing on both the Europa and World Cup circuits in a bid to continue the current trajectory of his world ranking.

"Slalom is just a one day event and it's possible to do World Cup and Europa Cup events, it's a busy schedule but it's what you have to do," he added.

"I don't like thinking too much about Sochi, if my form is going well in November, December and January then the Olympics should just fall into place.

"Of course it's in the back of my mind but I'm focusing on my races now, rather than next year."

Ryding ranked 27th in his Olympic debut in Vancouver but believes he'll be better suited to improving that in Sochi, should selection be confirmed next year.

"Because you needed to acclimatise I was away for a long-time before Vancouver and slalom is also one of the last events at the Games," he added.

"There was too much waiting around and the Olympics is such a pressured and intense environment to be in. It will be better in Sochi because I will probably stay at my own base until about five days beforehand. I think that flexibility will help my performance."

© Sportsbeat 2013

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