Norwegian biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is getting a ticket to the World Cup opener in Gällivare, and will join the Norwegian team at the first cross-country competitions of the season in Sweden.
“We seriously consider all athletes. It’s not age that counts, but if they are fast enough. We have good cooperation between biathlon and cross-country skiing” explained sports chief Åge Skinstad.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has already made to the top in Gällivare. In 2006 he dominated the season opener and proved to be one of Norwegian free technique specialists. He did not deliver outstanding performance last Friday in Beitostoelen placing 9th. “Ole Einar was not in an optimal shape on Friday, but the skiing part of the biathlon race Sunday was much better. After this race we decided to give him a chance ” revealed Skinstad reason why Bjoerndalen got invitation.
Bjoerndalen for World Champs?
Another reason why Bjoerndalen will show up in Gällivare is that he might get a ticket for the World Champs in Oslo. He has taken part already in two Nordic Wordls in Oberstdorf 2005 and Sapporo 2007. Skinstad can test him in 15 km Free and see if he could fit in the relay team for Oslo. There are only three relays before the World Champs. In Gällivare, La Clusaz and Rybinsk. Bjoerndalen will be racing at biathlon World Cup so Gällivare could be the only chance.
Norway will pit two rela teams. Final team composition will be done after the opeining Staurday’s race.
Mixture of youth and experience
National coach Morten Aa Djupvik says they picked up a good World Cup squad. “It’s an exciting team with a mixture of young and promising athletes with more experienced and older athletes “he said. There are six ladies in the distance team that get ready for Gällivare, including Ingvild Flugstad Østberg. “We have pretty good team. We have mostly focused on skaters. All skiers confirmed fine shep this weekend “said national coach Egil Kristiansen.
Norway’s line up
Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Fossum IF
Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Røa IL
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Byåsen IL
Geir Ludvig Aasen Ouren, Oddersjaa SSK / Sirdal Ski Cross
Chris Andrew Jespersen, Byåsen IL / Team Manpower
Sjur Røthe, Voss IL / Team Manpower
Kristian Tettli Rennemo, Leksvik IL (scholarship)
Petter Northug., Strindheim IL (scholarship)
Eldar Rønning Skogn IL (relay)
Marit Bjorgen, Rognes IL
Astrid Jacobsen Uhrenholdt, IL Heming
Therese Johaug, IL Nansen
Marthe Kristoffersen, IL Varden
Kristin Stormer Steira, IL Attempts
Vibeke Skofterud Slitu IF