For the Norwegian national team sprinter Trond Iverson the World Championship in Oberstdorf is his season’s biggest goal. He is well aware that at this Sunday’s World Cup sprint race he will have to be in top form to even be selected for a spot on the Worlds team. Â
Just qualifying among the Norwegians who get to ski in the classic sprint for the World Championships is a tough enough goal. Trond Iverson is fully aware of this and it makes Sunday’s race in Otepaa that more important for him.
– I was 4th in the Asiago sprint in December so it is natural to aim for the podium this time. I have to reach higher. If I manage to get on the podium I feel I have a much better chance of getting a World Championship berth. This weekend’s sprint is perhaps one the most important races I’ve skied in a long time, admits Iverson.
Over the holidays he was home in Mjondalen, Norway, with training squeezed in between the festivities.
He is very satisfied with how he has performed so far this season.
-I feel that I’ve made good progress over the last two seasons. Things started to come together in the last two sprint races last season. Training this summer and fall also went well. I feel that I have skied fast in all the sprint races so far this season. I made a huge mistake in Bern where I backed off too early in the final stretch and let two racers get ahead of me. I felt as if I had full control. It’s a bitter feeling since there are so few sprint races, I feel as if I threw away a chance to advance. That’s why it was extra satisfying to get it to go well in Asiago, so I could take home a good feeling over Christmas. If I continue what I did in Asiago I feel that I have a good chance at securing a World Championship spot this weekend, says Iverson.
Iverson has shown this season that he is a very capable sprinter in both skiing techniques.
-If I stay in the shape that I am now, I feel that I can do well in both classic and skating. I had the second fastest time in the prologue in Bern and the fastest time in Asiago, so I have expectations for podium finishes in both techniques, says the sprinter.
If he qualifies for the World Championships he will automatically be a medal candidate.
-Most Norwegians are best in the classic sprint and there has been a strong dominance there. Just qualifying for the Championships is extremely difficult. Yet once one has qualified he or she is automatically a medal candidate, there aren’t many nations that have it like that, says the 28 year old.
Jens Arne Svartedal has of late been extremely strong in classic sprints, yet Iverson feels it is possible to beat his teammate.
-I have beaten him before even though that is beginning to be a while ago now. We both have our strengths in classical striding and if I’m in top shape then I feel I can beat him, says Iverson
He feels that the World Championship course in Oberstdorf, Germany fits him well
-There is a lot of striding and I feel that is perfect for me. But it is important to have strength in the final stretch so I have been working a lot with double poling and weights and I feel I have made some progress there. So overall I feel the course is a good one for me.