Skiing: Tomba will miss the opening event of World Cup season

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Alberto Tomba, returning to a favourite theme, was quoted yesterday as saying that the Alpine World Cup circuit should be scrapped.

Italian newspapers also quoted the world and Olympic champion as saying that he would skip the season's opening race in Austria and might also decide against travelling to the United States but would decide nearer the date.

"I have always said that the classics, the World Championships and the Olympics were enough," the daily Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Tomba as telling reporters at an awards ceremony in the northern town of Biella on Monday.

Tomba, who said earlier this year that he had considered retiring after winning two gold medals at the Sierra Nevada World Championships in February, has changed his training schedule and reduced his workload. "I will decide later whether to start the season in the United States or at Madonna di Campiglio," said Tomba, who has already committed himself to competing in the 1997 World Championships in the Italian resort of Sestriere.

"I have done half as much training on snow as last year so I may delay my start as a result. I will do some trials at the end of the month to see how the motor is working," he said. "At the moment I should be about ready, I am probably faster but a bit less powerful."

The season starts in Solden, Austria on 26-27 October and then moves to Park City, Utah on 21 November. Madonna di Campiglio hosts a race on 17 December.