The Swedish sprint relay team selection was a surprise for Charlotte Kalla, although the coaches have been tossing the idea around for a couple of days, especially as Hanna Falk doesn’t seem to have nailed the peak for the World Championships.
“If you had asked me last summer if I thought I’d be racing the team sprint at the world Championships I would have laughed,” Kalla admitted.
But the decision being what it is, both Kalla and Ingemarsdotter are excited for the race.
“I think the course suits us well as a team,” said Ida Ingemarsdotter. She pointed out that there are several teams that will be fighting for the hardware in the women’s teams sprint: Norway and Finland are the obvious suspects, both teams that have proven their position in Holmenkollen this week, but Ingemarsdotter also doesn’t rule out Italy and Slovenia in the mix for the medals.
Norway’s team will consist of Maiken Caspersen Falla and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, giving Marit Bjoergen an extra rest day before the relay on Thursday.
“I think we could beat the competitors with an ambush, come up from behind,” said Ingemarsdotter, who is not worried about racing the team sprint the day before possibly racing the 4x5K relay on Thursday.
“The rest of the season we do back to back races on the World Cup all the time. You learn to just put your head down and get the job done,” Ingemarsdotter said.
Confident in Kalla
Sweden’s national team coach Rickard Grip said he felt that he had named the most promising team for the race, based on Kalla’s improvement in classic technique the last season.
Over the past season, Kalla has made several strong bids for classic starts. In Kuusamo in November, she placed fourth in the classic sprint, and during Tour de Ski Kalla delivered a solid 11th place in the classic sprint.
“I really feel like I nailed my peak this week. It will be exciting to see what Ida and I can do out there tomorrow,” Kalla said. “I hope I’m able to ski to my potential tomorrow. We’re skiing for a medal.”
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.