Chorley slalom skier Dave Ryding has re-set his goals after enjoying a career best season on the snow slopes of the world.
The 30-year-old announced himself as a serious contender for the sport’s biggest prizes after performing brilliantly during the World Cup series over the winter.
Out of the 10 meetings, Ryding never once finished outside of the top 20 and earned six top-10 placings.
His crowning moment came in the Austrian town of Kitzbuhel in January when in front of 60,000 spectators, he came within a whisker of winning – eventually finishing second behind home favourite Marcel Hirscher.
His appearance on the podium was the first time a Briton had earned a top-three position since Konrad Bartelski came second in a downhill in Italy in 1981.
Very much on the periphery at elite level for much of his early career, Ryding has shown steady signs of improvement in recent years and has genuine hopes of becoming the first British man to win a World Cup event since the present format came into existence in the 1960s.
“My goal as a kid was to be ranked inside the top 30 because that’s when you get two runs at a World Cup meeting,” said Ryding, who hails from the small village of Bretherton.
“That’s when people start to notice you and know who you are. I managed to achieve that two seasons ago so after that I did not know what my limit was.
“But nowI feel like I don’t really have a limit and if I can keep on improving then why can’t I be regularly in the top three.”
As well as another successful World Cup campaign, Ryding also has the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to look forward to early next year.
A veteran of two previous Olympics, Ryding can rightly be regarded as a medal contender. “Anyone ranked around the top 10, you have to take seriously for an Olympic medal,” he said.
“There are a lot guys out there who are capable of beating me on the day, but I am capable of beating them.
“I have just got to look to keep improving for the winter and see where that takes me.”