Justin Wadsworth’s not sure how it got out there, but he said incorrect information reached the press on Tuesday regarding the Canadian World Cup Team’s coaching and waxing staff for the 2014/2015 season.
Le Journal de Quebec first ran a report about Alex Harvey being at the center of controversy, stating that Norwegian Tor Arne Hetland — who most recently worked as the Swiss sprint coach — was replacing Wadsworth as head coach.
FasterSkier called Harvey to confirm and couldn’t immediately reach Wadsworth. Harvey said he understood that Hetland be would more of a co-head coach with Louis Bouchard, now a national-team coach and head of the Pierre-Harvey Training Centre. He thought that Hetland, who did not renew his contract with Switzerland’s national team this spring, according to FIS, would write training plans for his three Canmore-based teammates: Devon Kershaw, Ivan Babikov and Lenny Valjas.
Soon after the story was published on FasterSkier, which has since been removed and revised, Wadsworth emailed to state there had been a big misunderstanding. “This is not the case [about Hetland being the new coach], and the Quebec reporter who wrote the article called later to get the fact straight,” he wrote.
Upon a follow-up phone call, Wadsworth could not elaborate on details of Cross Country Canada’s (CCC) decisions regarding team staffing because they hadn’t been sorted out yet, he said.
“We’re far from making any official decisions on anything,” he said. “I’m not really sure why that news came out like that today. It’s definitely not something that’s true right now.”
In terms of his role with the team, he said it’s in the beginning stages of negotiation. Nothing has been decided regarding whether he’ll work directly with developing athletes or not, as previous reports suggested.
“We’re a long way away from things happening in our organization,” he said. “We’ve talked to Tor Arne, but there’s no contract. But my position is up in the air — I’m gonna remain head coach as long as we can figure out a [solution].”
Internal meetings will continue next week and Wadsworth said CCC would likely make an official announcement the following week — the last few days of April.
Asked whether any of the reported additions to the team’s waxing staff had been made, he said, “We have not finalized anything with anyone yet.”
That includes Fabio Ghasifi, an Italian wax tech who’s worked with the Japanese World Cup team since the 2002/2003 season, according to Japan’s head coach Hisashi Yamaguchi. Ghasifi was initially reported to replace Sasha Bergeron, a glide-wax specialist who worked primarily with Valjas and Dasha Gaiazova on the World Cup. Harvey said Bergeron is leaving the team for family reasons; his wife is pregnant with their second child.
“We’ve talked to Fabio, but I’ve also talked to others as well,” Wadsworth explained.
One (or two) things that might stick are Harvey’s two test pilots. According to Harvey, his personal sponsor since 2009 and a team sponsor sine 2010, B2ten plans to pay for two wax testers, specifically hired to ski on Harvey’s skis in preparation for races.
Harvey said the two men — Lee Churchill and Graham MacLean, selected because of their similar builds to his reportedly 6-foot-1-inch, 170-pound frame, and their abilities to knock off many kilometers at a whack — will alternate throughout the racing season so that one of them accompanies him on the road all winter.
“That’s the way a lot of teams are going now,” Harvey said. “You see wax technicians, they look like World Cup athletes.”
Wadsworth wrote: “If that happens, and we think it could work, then they would be integrated into our waxing staff.”
CCC High Performance Director Thomas Holland could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.