Five-time Olympic 2002 biathlon gold medal winner Ole Einar Bjorndalen is looking forward to the Norwegian cross country opener in less than two weeks, and possibly regular cross country World Cup races after that, according to Norwegian newspaper VG.
Bjorndalen (32) and his wife, also biathlon skier, Nathalie Santer (30) are currently training in their new hometown in Obertillach, Austria, but are looking forward to â€œgetting it onâ€ (the season started). Nathalie has three biathlon World Cup victories and 15 podiums to her merits.
Obertillach is at 1400-meters altitude in the middle of the Alps and according to Bjorndalen a perfect place to train and prepare for the thin air competitors will experience at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.
– It’s perfect start-point since most of this winter’s main events are within three hours drive from here, says Bjorndalen
Nathalie’s plans call for retirement (and children) after the 2006 Olympics while Bjorndalen want to race through the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
– Ski racing is so much fun that I can’t imagine stopping anytime soon, says Ole Einar. Â
Nathalie and Ole Einar are spending roughly 100 days per year, mostly in the summer and fall, training in their new hometown. The rest of the time is spent at camps and races.
They left for new ski â€œdutiesâ€ on Monday this week and won’t be back before Christmas.
Bjorndalen is very excited about racing the Norwegian elite skiers at Beitostolen November 14, but he is a little uncertain about how changing skis from Rossignol to Madshus will turn out:
– The transition from one brand to another is harder than most people can imagine. I have to in simple terms learn to ski differently with these skis, says Bjorndalen.
He is on the other hand optimistic that his new ski’s stability and qualities can make him ski even faster.
– I have always skied well in the uphills, while easy terrain hasn’t been my strongest side.
He has for that reason studied how Rene Sommerfeldt and Thomas Alsgaard have gained time on their competitors in the uphills.