If you ask Norwegian National Team skier Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset about his goal for the season, he will answer that he feels lots of joy in winning ski races.
â€œI really want to win some ski races. The target is to ski very fast in classicâ€ says Hjelmeset.
His competitors are now warned. Hjelmeset has proved that very few skiers can keep up with him in classic competitions. The race length doesn’t matter when he is in shape.
Staying healthy and injury free could bring him high up on the overall World Cup list despite not collecting world cup points in his obvious weakness, the skate technique.
â€œI just read somewhere that Frode Estil’s is supposed to win the overall World Cup so I should try to fill in nicely right behind himâ€
The sprinter Tor Arne Hetland has also stated that his goal is to be among the top three in the â€œall-aroundâ€ World Cup, not only in the sprint.
It should be a nice season for Norwegian skiers if they all deliver on their goals and predictions. Hjelmeset obviously needs to collect some sprint points if he wants to do well in the overall World Cup.
â€œI’m planning on doing the sprint races. I was sick every time there was a classic sprint race two years ago. The same happened last year as well until Holmenkollen where I got 4th. We totally missed the wax in Drammen. That was too bad since we have many skiers that should have done well there. Let’s hope we avoid that mistake againâ€.
Hjelmset claims, with the exception of one period of having a cold, to have had put in good training all summer and fall. He has made few changes in his training approachâ€.
â€œI might have trained a little easier this season. There has been talk about how hard last year’s distance training was, but I didn’t feel that it was that fast. I can see from my times though that I’m skiing a little easier this year. It’s easy to get into a habit of always skiing at the same fast pace if you start to ski a little too fast early onâ€
Hjelmset is training quite a bit for skating despite targeting the classic distances. He is continuing to improve and hopes to capture his first ever skate World Cup points this season. His best until now is 31st, less than 1 second from points. He also sees possibilities in the double pursuit.
â€œI have truly trained a lot of skating and am optimistic following recent treadmill tests. I have a tendency of focusing on classic when the season starts, I guess we’ll seeâ€ — says Hjelmeset.