Tag Archive | "Martin Johnsrud Sundby"

Norwegian Cross-Country Team Training Update

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September 20, 2011 – Norwegian Cross-Country athletes have had smooth summer and good training season so far, but there are still two months to go till the FIS Cross-Country World Cup kicks off in Beitostolen… and there are over three months to go till the winter highlight, this year’s FIS Tour de Ski.

“We’ve had only few injuries and illness in the national teams this training season. In general, everything runs very well. We are certainly on good track,” says head coach Vidar Løfshus.

Løfshus has been relatively new in the top position being responsible for various national teams in the World Cup season. He knows the season is approaching, but does not deny that he is looking forward to it.

“It is very fun to get started with the season, and I think we have many that will show their teeth,” Løfshus thinks.

Løfshus has praised both of the new national team coaches for having done very good progress. Junior team coach Sjur Ole Svarstad and men’s distance team coach Trond Nystad’s were hired before the training season.

“Both of them have made very good impression so far. They also have established good dialogue with athletes, service and generally with the whole team,” says Løfshus.

Twenty-two days in the height
In August, before the FIS Rollerski World Championships and Toppidrettsveka in Aure/Kristiansund, Trond Nystad took the men’s distance team to the training camp in Oberhof for the first time. Ladies’ team spent the August training camp in the idyllic surroundings of Hummelfjell in Os. Norwegian Junior teams were also there at the training camps.

In late August the teams left for the traditional high altitude training stay at Seiser Alm and Livigno, while the men’s sprint team went to Ramsau. Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Sjur Røthe, Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Petter Northug stayed longer in Livigno and could enjoy perfect training conditions during the last training week there. The quartet extended the high altitude stay by a week and experienced almost ideal conditions. Northug and Co. carried out twenty-two days in a row at the training camp.

Training Camps in Norway
After the high altitude stay in middle Europe, three Norwegian national teams will meet in three different places next week. Men’s distance team will kick off their gathering in Drammen on Tuesday, ladies’ squad left for Kvitfjell and sprinters will meet in Gjøvik. October will feature, traditional training camps in Livigno (sprint team) and at Val Senales (distance teams). Last week the sprint specialists started on Mallorca their final dry land training phase before the winter World Cup season.

Before the Norwegian national Cross-Country season opening in Beitostølen Norwegian national teams plan to meet at Gala.

Sweden’s Rickardsson Takes 15K CL Win in Drammen – Kershaw 26th UPDATED

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February 19, 2011 (Drammen, Norway) – Sweden’s tough Daniel Rickardsson had both power and magic in his skiing on Saturday taking his first-ever World Cup win at the Konnerud ski stadium just six kilometers from this well known Nordic community, famed for it’s city centre sprints.

Rickardsson scored the win in the men’s 15km classic with a time of 37:19.1 on the tough trails over Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sunby winning by 29 seconds. Norwegian stud, Petter Northug, took third. More than 15,000 cheering fans came out to watch this final tune up just a week before the World Championships get underway in Oslo.

Fourth place went to Davos’ Switzerland’s Dario Cologna, who continues to lead the overall world cup standings with 1,247 points followed by Northug in second with 834 points.

While Rickkkardsson has been on the podium three times today was his first taste of the world cup nectar. He was thrilled following the race. “I had a good feeling the whole race, and I hoped to be on the podium. I will not start in Sunday’s sprint, as I will go home to Sweden and take it easy. I want to relax and will probably do all of the distance races at the World Champs.”

While the Canadian women struggled in their classic race earlier in the day, the men put in a reasonable showing. Devon Kershaw was 26th in 39:00.1, while Alex Harvey was 30th in 39:04.0, and prompted Head Coach and former Olympian Justin Wadsworth to tell SkiTrax following the race.

“For Devon it’s been since Jan. 9th without a race and he said he had a hard time getting into a rhythm. Alex has not raced a lot since the Tour de Ski as well and didn’t feel amazing, so it was a good tune up for both of them. I have 100% confidence they’re in good shape and it will show at the Worlds.”

Harvey weighed in with skitrax.com following the competition and said that his race went pretty much as he expected. “It was a good course for me, long uphills where you can stride it out and glide a lot. The course was really hard – the first 2km are basically all uphill – then you get 1km of downhill, and more uphill. Conditions were nice, a little on the cold side, especially on the last lap when it was close to -10.”

Ivan Babikov was 44th while George Grey was 68th for the Canadian National team.

The top American men was Kris Freeman who placed 57th with a time of 40:03.7. Freeman was quick to praise his skis but called it a frustrating day.

“My body just wasn’t there. I am not freaking out, but it’s not a confidence builder leading into Oslo.” The New Hampshire native said his blood sugar was ok, but just felt flat on the skis for no apparent reason but suggested that he may have over trained in the week prior to Drammen.

Freeman also said the US squad was very pleased by the strong Beitostolen results adding that he would skip Sunday’s sprint and would now head to Oslo for his final preparations for the Worlds.

“We had a rough one for sure today,” said US head coach Chris Grover. “I think Kris was a bit rusty from four weeks without racing. He will get going in Oslo for sure.”

Other American finishes included Noah Hoffman in 71st place, followed by teammates Lars Flora in 72nd and Tadd Elliott who was 77th.

All eyes will be now trained on Sunday’s free technique sprints in Drammen, the final world cup event before the start of the VM in Oslo next week.

Full results HERE.

The Sasseville Report – A Look at the Otepaa WCup

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January 25, 2011 (Barrie, ON) – It was so good to see a “traditional” cross-country ski race on Saturday from Otepaa. The 10 and 15km individual start classic races were great to watch. I grew up with this form of racing and it’s what attracted me to the sport in the first place. For me racing against the clock and yourself with no one to help you is the purest form of racing. I used to argue with cycling road racers about the merits of racing by yourself or in a pack, and we agreed that it takes a different kind of mentality to do these two types of races.

You can really see this in Petter Northug (NOR). He’s a pack racer and a sprinter with the perfect mentality and physiology for those types of races. He’s not nearly as good as an individual start competitor. His 8th place on Saturday in Otepaa was actually a good race for him. I believe that 20 years ago, he would not have nearly as many good results that he has achieved when most of the races were individual starts. I also do not believe that his compatriot, the great Bjoern Dahlie, would have been as good back then if they were using mass starts because he did not have a very good sprint. Most of his races were won long before the final 200 meters.

However the same cannot be said for Norway’s queen, Marit Bjoergen. She is the best at everything. She can win an individual start by over 30 seconds like she did on Saturday and also win mass start races and sprints. She is just so dominant that it has become a surprise when she does not win. Once again, on Sunday in the individual sprints, for the second week in a row she had problems with another skier and did not make it into the final.

The distance course in Otepaa is a very tough course. The 5km loop is very hilly with one big hill that goes up beside the ski jump seemingly from the bottom to the top. The last 200 meters feature 13%-plus grade and all of the skiers had to herringbone. To win on a course like this you need great fitness, great technique, great mental strength and you need to pace properly. Bjoergen had all of these and won easily.

Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland) and Teresa Johaug (Norway) also showed great skills. Kowalczyk is in great shape and very strong mentally and Johaug is the best female climber in the world. That these three women finished one, two, and three is no surprise.

The men’s 15km race was won by Elder Roenning because he paced it better than anyone else, especially fellow Norwegian Martin Johnsrud Sundby who was the leader at 10km but faded to 7th. Daniel Rickardsson of Sweden and Maxim Vylezghanin of Russia also showed great fitness and pacing to finish 2nd and 3rd. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Andrus Veerpalu finished 5th on his home track even though he is 40 years old. He is the master of the 15km classic having won two Olympic gold medals at that distance. He also does not like the mass start races with a sprint at the end and I’m sure that this race format was set up especially for him.

While the individual distance course was a true test of the skiers the classic sprint course from Sunday was not. There were not enough hills in this course so instead of watching a classic sprint race we got to watch a double pole sprint race. Yuck! I hate it when this happens – it’s like going to watch a hockey game and all they do is fight.

So, once again, with all six men in the final only double poling someone you have never heard of before – Eirik Bransdal of Norway won. Back in 2008 the same thing happened in Canmore where Bjoern Naess from Norway won. FIS tried to fix this by forcing race organizers to change the courses (they added a big hill in Vancouver to the sprint course) and we’ve never heard of Naess since. It’s a shame, really, because Otepaa obviously has the hills to make a good course. The ironic thing is that the Norwegians have been trying for years to preserve classic technique from the onslaught of skating and you would think that the head of the World Cup committee, Vegard Ulvang, who is Norwegian, would not want to have double pole only classic races. The other ironic thing is that Norwegians keep winning these kinds of races.

The female sprinters used all of the classic techniques in their race and the best classic sprinter in the world – Petra Majdic of Slovenia – won convincingly over last year’s World Junior champion, Hanna Brodin from Sweden, and Maikan Falla of Norway. Brodin will be staying in Otepaa for another week to contest the U23 World championships and she has to be the favourite to win the sprints next weekend.

Dasha Gaiazova had the best result of her career finishing 8th. She continues to improve, especially in sprinting and she has taken over the #1 spot on the Canadian women’s team. Chandra Crawford finished 27th after qualifying 17th. Her qualifying time was almost 3 seconds closer to the top time than what she did in Vancouver, so she is improving. However, she is still 6 seconds slower than the best classic sprinters so there is still plenty of room for improvement.

There were no Americans at Otepaa this weekend and the rest of the Canadian skiers were all young skiers who were there for experience and to race on the same courses that they will use next weekend for the U23 World Championships. The best results from these young skiers were the 31st place by Len Valjas (he missed qualifying for the heats by .02 seconds) and a 33rd by Alysson Marshall, also close to qualifying in the sprints.

There are no World Cup races next weekend because of these U23 World Championships which held in conjunction with the World Junior Championships. Both Canada and the United States have full teams at these events. The World Cup continues on February 4-6 in Rybinsk, Russia with a full weekend of pursuit, sprint and relay races.