Ulf Morten Aune, the long-term Coach of the Norwegian Sprint Team including the overall Sprint FIS World Cup winner 2006/2007 Jens Arne Svartedal as well as Tor Arne Hetland and Eldar Roenning, presented a coach’s perspective to the FIS World Cup TD Seminar. His presentation focused on the rules for sprint competitions. After the presentation, he took the time to provide an update on his team’s preparations for the FIS Cross-Country News.
Sandra Spitz: How has the summer training been for the great Norwegian sprinters?
Ulf Morten Aune: Beside the injury of Tor Arne Hetland, who had some problems with his tendon and had a cast on his arm for six weeks, and Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset, who had a virus infection in his eyes due to an insect bite; I’m very satisfied with our preparations until now. In the first week of October, we will travel to Central Europe to train in Livigno (ITA) and later on the glacier in Val Senales. We always try to train in the altitude and sun at this time of the year – in the North, the days are already short.
Sandra Spitz: What are your team’s goals for the start of the season?
Ulf Morten Aune: To have the chance to race for the victory. As you know, in Sprint everything can happen such as, for example, crashes or broken equipment – but when I see that we could be on the top or are there, we will have reached our goal for the early season.
Sandra Spitz: From your point of view, have the so-called ‘Sprinters’ a chance to win the Tour now that the rules of the Tour were changed e.g. more sprint bonus points will be awarded?
Ulf Morten Aune: It’s good that the Sprinters now have the possibility to win more bonus seconds. But because of an additional distance race (compared to the last Tour) this advantage is gone. Athletes who will be up front must be able to race all distances in both styles well – the Tour is really something for the all-rounders.
Sandra Spitz: Who are your biggest favorites for the second edition of the Tour?
Ulf Morten Aune: Certainly Tobias Angerer – if he is in the same shape as last season he is unbeatable. But we should not forget Axel Teichmann, who got ill last time, or the strong Russians including Alexander Legkov. From our team, we too have athletes who will fight for the victory: Northug, Hetland, Oestensen and Svartedal, for example.