Norwegian Sprint Coach Ulf Morten Aune says that National Teams must be better tactically in sprint and mass-start races. He says skiers could learn tactic from bike racers.
“In Sprint we quickly see conflicts between caring for the individual skier and what is best for the team as a whole. Everyone wants to do well individually, but regardless of this there are things we can do better for the team. Here we can learn both from bike racing and from track & field”, says Aune.
Especially in biking it is common that individual bikers ride purely for the team captain and the team. This concept may not be taken this far in Cross-Country right away, but with the new racing formats consisting of more sprints and mass-start races, it may be beneficial for Cross-Country teams to also think team tactics. In next year’s World Ski Championship, only one of six events is in the traditional interval start (time-trial) format.
“So far, Sweden has taken this concept the furthest. Norwegian Hetland noticed this when skiing against three Swedes in the World Cup Sprint final in Dusseldorf, Germany last year. We also saw some of this in the mass-start race in last year’s World Ski Championship.”
At this time, Aune is not sure how to work this out. Different snow conditions and course designs may result in different solutions.
“Don’t ask me how we will do this with our team. This may vary from race to race. The path will be created while we more forward”, explains Aune.