Norwegian skiers have struggled in skating for a long time, but did better than expected in the men’s pursuit at Worlds. The coach explains why. Note: These comments were said before the men’s 4 x 10-kilometer relay.
Since Krister Sorgard took over as head coach for the Norwegian men’s team he has hammered them on their skate technique. We now see the results of the hard work.
– We started a process where we took everyone and hit them with the same plan. I put them on the treadmill and turned it on full speed to see what was missing. We also had longer skating workouts, with less speed. We did 5 by 10 minutes intervals when before we would only do 3 by 10 minutes. They went too hard before. The other thing is that we did this continually. The workouts have come evenly and steadily. When the season is over we will have worked most in skating even though there have been classic races, says Sorgard.
At the World Championships we can see that this training plan has shown results. Frode Estil had no problem hanging with skiers that are usually much stronger than him in skating.
– Frode has taken huge steps forward. We have been doing 7 by 10 minutes intervals this year. We have also had long workouts where we first skied either classic or skate for and hour and a half before switching to the other technique, says the Norwegian coach.
He is naturally happy with Frode Estil’s bronze medal in a traditionally weak Norwegian event.
-We have had one podium finish in the double pursuit in the last two years and that was Kristen Skjeldal in Pragelato. So there is no doubt I’m happy. I was as usual a little pessimistic before the races but it is normal to dream and hope about medals. We are now entering some races that we have traditionally been comfortable in, says Sorgard.
He didn’t want to comment much on the episode where Frode Estil and Giorgio Di Centa got caught up in each other in the last hill.
-It is what happens in mass-starts. It was tight there, but it was too bad for Frode because he was doing well when it happened, says Sorgard.