Believes the national team runners were sweating in the forehead – VG

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FASTEST: Harald Østberg Amundsen won the 15-kilometer race during the Norwegian Cup race at Sjusjøen on Saturday. Photo: Heiko Junge

Recruit runner Harald Østberg Amundsen (22) thinks several national team runners feel the pressure for a World Cup place after he won the 15-kilometer race at Sjusjøen on Saturday.

While several of the national team runners are struggling, the recruiting national team’s 22-year-old from Asker has seized the opportunity with both hands. At Beitostølen he was second behind Hans Christer Holund, on Saturday he beat everyone in the 15 kilometer freestyle, which is a World Cup exercise.

– I think someone feels pressured from behind. That they feel breathed in the neck. I hope they know that. They have a reason for that, says Amundsen to VG after the super race at Sjusjøen.

On Sunday, the men go 15 kilometers classic in the same place.

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Amundsen was 17 seconds ahead of Johannes Høsflot Klæbo in goal yesterday. Then there were national team runners in 5th, 7th and 10th, 15th and 21st place, while Simen Hegstad Krüger strolled to the finish in 36th place.

– With the race I went today, I guess they got a little sweat in the forehead. There are many national team runners who have little to struggle with, there are many World Cup places that have not been clarified, says Amundsen.

NUMBER TWO: Harald Østberg Amundsen (left) was second best during the national cross-country opening at Beitostølen, Hans Christer Holund won. Sjur Røthe (left) was third in the 15 kilometer freestyle. Photo: Terje Pedersen

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Sweden and Finland follow Norway: No to the World Cup

And with Norway out of the World Cup for the rest of the year due to the corona pandemic, while it has not been decided whether Norway will be quiet in the Tour de Ski, a national team coach has never had a worse basis for taking out a World Cup squad than Eirik Myhr Nossum has now.

– That is correct. Possibly there was something in the 1950s I do not have an overview of, but it’s probably like that, Nossum says to VG.

Here is the World Cup match

Now there are races in Norway and the National Championships that will decide who gets to go to the World Championships in Oberstdorf in February.

Here, the runners who want to go to the WC must perform:

  • Scandinavian Cup at Lygna, 8.-10. January: Sprint classic, 15 km. free technique, 30 km. classical.
  • NM on skis, Granåsen, 16.-19. January: 30 km. joint start with ski change, 15 km. freestyle, sprint classic.
  • World Cup, Lahti, January 23: 30 km. joint start with ski change.

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ONLY GOLD: Norway took six of six World Cup golds on the men’s side in Seefeld last year. Here, national team coach Eirik Myhr Nossum talks to the press after the gold for Hans Christer Holund (back to the right in the photo) at five miles. Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk

Amundsen says that the World Cup dream is bigger after the victory on Saturday.

– I believe that if I continue at the level as today, then the World Cup may be relevant. But there are several national team runners who are not starting today, says Amundsen.

– Is not it a bit defensive?

– Yes, maybe. I was thinking about the World Cup today. But it’s early. But the World Cup dream grows when you gain confidence, Amundsen answers.

– Good application

National team coach Nossum has great faith that it will be the World Cup. He does not allow himself to be stressed by a different season charge for the championship.

– That Harald wins is a good application, but nothing more, says Nossum.

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There are more than Amundsen who have been stronger than Klæbo this season, in Ruka Eirik Valnes staked from Trøndelag in the sprint race:

It is one of the rarities that runners outside the national team are allowed to go to the WC. Kristine Stavås Skistad from the recruiting national team ran the sprint in Seefeld last year. Sjur Røthe was a Team Manpower runner when he entered 4th place in the five-mile race at Holmenkollen in 2011. Therese Johaug was on the junior national team when she clinched the World Cup bronze in the three-mile race in 2007. But due to the corona virus and the Norwegian Cup race with the national team runners, so the block for the national team coach is extra full of names this year.

In addition to Amundsen, Mikael Gunnulfsen from Team Telemark has signed up for the WC discussion with a victory in the 15 kilometer classic at Beitostølen in November.

– There are good applications from people outside the national team, but it is very early to say anything about the World Cup yet. What we know is that Beitostølen and Ruka who have been, Lygna and NM will be very important for the WC selection, says Nossum.

PS! Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Emil Iversen were on the podium in the World Cup opening in Ruka in the distance race, while Hans Christer Holund had the best time at the start of the hunt. Norway has four defending champions who have free space for the World Cup.

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