“We designed and cut a sprint course in Vålådalen. It resembles the Holmenkollen sprint course quite well, so now I know how to race the course,” Swedish sprint specialist Emil Joensson (SWE) said to the Swedish newspaper SportExpressen.se.
Both the Swedish wax tech team and the Swedish racers were denied access when they wanted to test the courses in Holmenkollen over Christmas and New Year.
“Now at least the wax techs have gained access. They’ve gone through the course and given us some updates about the conditions,” Joensson said.
Last year, the pre-Worlds were held in Holmenkollen, but the sprint courses have been modified since then. One of the changes is the addition of some sharp turns on the part of the course that leads into the final stretch before the finish. With the help of the wax tech reports, Joensson has been able to construct a replica of the course in Vålådalen, south of Aare in Sweden.
Prepare for the course
“Of course, it would have been better to be on site and train on the race course, but this course is very similar. Now we know what sections we need to focus on for time and where the critical battles will be fought. So that’s why we made this course, to prepare for the course both physically and mentally,” explained Joensson, who now has completed the most brutal parts of his peaking plan.
During the Swedish national championships two weeks ago, Joensson fell and hit his knee, which was swollen and sore for a while after. “I took a hit there, so it was four or five days before I could train normally again. But the last week I’ve been able to train as planned, so I feel good about everything now,” Joensson said.
Had to adjust
The injury from the crash at the Swedish nationals forced Joensson to make some adjustments to his training program, but he doesn’t think the changes have impacted his chances at the Worlds next week. “I had planned to do skate intervals, but I had to do double-pole intervals instead. There were things like that I had to adjust, but I don’t think that will make any difference,” Joensson said.
From Expressen.se, February 16, 2011. Translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.