Norwegian newspaper VG reports that Biathlon skier Lars Berger (25) is hunting for gold in both biathlon and cross country skiing. Biathlon has however first priority. Berger reached the World’s biathlon elite as rocket last winter and the expectations are enormous before the upcoming season. Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjorndalen says that Berger can become as good as he desires.
Berger won three biathlon World Cup sprint races in 2003, took individual silver in the 2004 Worlds and was 5th in the overall biathlon World Cup last year.
– I shouldn’t rush things says Berger, but he is not denying that the upcoming Oberstdorf, Germany cross country Worlds is one of this season’s goal. That is if it’s not too much to do both biathlon and cross country.
– It’s fun to try but cross country has second priority. The plan is to measure myself against the best cross country skiers in the season premier at Beitostolen in November. The results will decide if I can get a spot on the World cup team for the following week’s races. They are not conflicting with my biathlon schedule. Lars Berger shocked Norwegian cross country skiers in 2003 when he won the Norwegian 30-kilometer championship. His silver medal race at last season’s Worlds showed an unbelievable finish capacity when he beat the winner Raphael Poiree by 58 seconds on the last three kilometers. He was 48 seconds faster than Bjorndalen and 47 seconds ahead of Frode Andresen.
Â Sport commentators made the following statements during this finish:
Radio commentator Torgeir Bjorn (former national team skier):
– What Lars did on the last three kilometer is the fastest I have ever seen. It’s even faster than what Johan Muehlegg did when he cheated the most.
Former national team coach Inge Braten said:
– I want to see the cross country skier than can beat Lars Berger in 10, 20 or 30-kilometer races. I believe he is the World’s best skater.
Â Later in the season Berger crushed Vincent Vittoz, Christian Hoffman, Frode Estil and Pietro Cottrer by more than one minute in a 15-kilometer skate race at military World championship. Frode Estil said after that race:
– No one in the World could have beaten Lars today!
– Lars is at the moment trying to avoid doing the same mistake as during last years first altitude camp in Italy where he trained too hard. He got a bad reaction to this and had to rest for most of September.