Armand Marchant opted for a surprising coaching change this summer: after 14 years, he exchanged Raphäel Burtin for the barely 27-year-old Croatian Elias Kolega.
Kolega is only a year older than Marchant, but he had to end his own career prematurely after an open leg fracture in 2020. His brother, Samuel Kolega, finished 23rd in the World Cup last season.
It was not the only change in Marchant’s entourage. The Slovenian Matej Cujes, who in the past was responsible for the equipment of the Croatian former world champion Ivica Kostelic, joined the team as a skiman. Thibaut Schnitzler stayed on as a physiotherapist.
Marchant starts with ambition. “Ending the winter in the top fifteen would be great. All those changes may require an adjustment period. I’m not going to panic if it’s not immediately top in the first games. On the other hand, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work right away, after all the hard work we put in over the summer.”
To get used to the many changes, Marchant completed internships in Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Argentina and Sweden.
“I had already been on the slopes for 145 days, never before had I had such an intensive preparation. I have the impression that I have become stronger and the physical tests confirm that.”
“I have also made technical progress. In Argentina I took part in two competitions and the result was surprisingly good (28th in a giant slalom, 5th in a slalom). We are ready. In this professional structure I have more control, I feel I feel more like the captain of my ship. There is great confidence.”
Marchant leaves for Austria on Tuesday. “Gurgl is a new stage in the World Cup, we don’t know the track yet. I will also focus on the technical disciplines for the rest of the season. I have ten days of giant slalom and fifty days of slalom on the program.”
In the latter discipline, Marchant finished tenth at the world championships in 2021. A year earlier, he skied to fifth place in the Zagreb World Cup slalom.