Hopes and expectations – Norways manager
With over 40 riders from Norway, manager Eddy Knudsen Storsæter hopes for the best, but expects nothing at this year’s world championships.
By: Karl Erik Andresen and Ine-Elise Høiby
The national team consists of 13 riders, while the rest of the national quota is filled with riders and supporting staff from different parts of the country.
– Of the 13 riders on the national team, one will participate in the trial and four men in the downhill, while the last eight are participants in cross country. Ingrid Bøe Jacobsen is an cross country rider, but will participate in the elimination aswell. She has two podium finishes in the world cup earlier this year, so it will be interesting to see how well she will perform, says the manager.
Another rider in the elimination is Sebastian Kartfjord, a former BMX rider.
– Sebastian is our joker here. He has extreme skills that fit the course well, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the track with his BMX skills.
Realistically, Norway has the chance to take two medals. One is Ingrid Bøe Jacobsen, and the other is our superstar Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå.
– Gunn Rita was second in the last world cup race, and has been on the podium in all the world cup races she has attended. We hope she gives everything and win the gold medal, while Ingrid has good potential to finish in the top three.
According to the manager, it is the women who will take responsibility, but there’s plenty of good riders among the guys as well.
– Sondre Kristiansen (U23 men) was sixth in the European championship earlier this year, and could easily get a great result. Everything is possible here, but we will not put any pressure on him by expecting a medal from him. But we are confident that he will be in the top 20.
Another champion is Edvard Vea Iversen who rides for the local team MTB Lillehammer, and is one of the other Norwegian hopes. After he won the national championship in May, there is great expectations to him. Last year he finished as number six in the World Cup at Hafjell.
– If we get a medal that is good, if we get two it is very good. We know that all the athletes can’t win a medal. But if everyone perfoms to their potential and perhaps surpass themselves, then I’m satisfied.
The downhill team are those that has the least expectations, Terje Nylende participated in the World Cup finals last weekend, where he qualified as number 24, which is very strong for such a young rider.
– Isaac Leivsson is another very strong rider, but after he broke his collarbone six weeks ago, it has been uncertain whether he even starts.
A chance for the unexperienced
Now that the World Championship is in Norway, they have the opportunity to bring riders outside the national team. During the world championships in South Africa, it was not possible to send more riders than those of the national team due to financial reasons. But now they fill up the national quota with young and promising athletes from NTG (a school in Lillehammer) and others.
– It’s exciting to be able to provide those who are not on the national team an opportunity to match themselves with the elite. When riding at their home turf, they may perform over their maximum potential and win, or the nerves and expectations might get the better of them. Let’s hope they embrace their chance and does some great runs. It’s a tight-knit group attending, the mountainbike community is relatively small, but we have athletes who competes at the top level, so it doesn’t have to be many riders for the environment to be good.
A careful review of the trails and tire choice in terms of weather, is important to prevent injuries and optimal performance. This is the job for technical trainer Sondre Nordland, he has extensive experience in BMX and downhill from the past, which is invaluable to the team.
– The weather has little impact on the competitors, but they hope for bad weather, with rain and all. Thats the optimal conditions for the riders , and they master it well. It won’t provide a big advantage, but if the riders get the weather they want it’ll be enough to give them an extra boost of confidence.
Despite the fact that mountainbiking is a sport where athletes are prone to injuries and accidents, there is little focus on it.
– We don’t think about the possibility for injuries. We focus on what we can do to avoid them, the manager says with a smile.
Photo: Ine-Elise Høiby