– This is what I really don’t understand. It’s too stupid to say that Iversen is a national team runner, so he still gets ahead of you, Jenssen told NRK.
The 26 year old from Hommelvik is part of the regional team Team Elon Midt-Norge. She started the season in fourth place (Norway best third) in the 10 km freestyle in the national opener in Beitostølen and sixth place over the same distance in the Norwegian Cup in Gålå, where she was just 10.9 seconds behind winner Sjur Røthe.
He reckons that will hold him for a place when the same distance is on the program during this week’s World Cup in Lillehammer, where Norway was able to field 12 runners.
Emil Iversen, on the other hand, is gaining renewed confidence, after two disappointing freestyle races so far this season. The national team runners finished ten places behind Jenssen at Beitostølen. At the World Cup in Ruka, Iversen had just a best time of 39 in the 20-kilometre pursuit starting freestyle on Sunday.
– The border has to go somewhere
Jan Thomas Jenssen said he was summoned by national team coach Eirik Myhr Nossum on Sunday night with the message that he would not be allowed to go to Lillehammer, citing that season information from the Norwegian Ski Association stated that national team skiers should be prioritized in the World Cup before Christmas. Then Jenssen did not know who had actually been eliminated.
When he saw Iversen’s name on the list on Monday, he was very surprised.
– If you look at the season information that we have to handle, it is clear that national team runners are the top priority. I have no problem understanding that. But the lines have to go somewhere, says Jenssen, and elaborates:
– What did he do on a Sunday quite night.
NRK cross-country expert Fredrik Aukland lent Jenssen his full support.
– It’s disrespectful to Cross Country Norway that they are defrosting this post so far and hiding behind it, said Aukland referring to the above-mentioned season information, which is a political decision of skiing.
– When you get a chance and don’t give it, then you have to get kicked out so someone else gets that chance. If you don’t, you’re hurting recruiting, explains Aukland.
Exactly that is also Jenssen’s main point. He told NRK it was frustrating and demotivating not to get a chance at the highest level.
– This sends a very bad signal to those of us who are not in the national team, he said.
Norway was able to field 12 runners in the race. Johannes Høsflot Klæbo has a free place as World Cup winner, Mattis Stenshagen free as Scandinavian Cup winner. Sjur Røthe secured an automatic starting place by winning at Gålå. Two of the 12 had to be U23 runners, and these places went to Iver Tildheim Andersen and Edvard Sandvik.
The remaining seven places went to Pål Golberg, Hans Christer Holund, Simen Hegstad Krüger, Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget, Håvard Moseby, Didrik Tønseth and Emil Iversen.
This meant there was also no place for Henrik Dønnestad, who took second place in the 10 km freestyle at Beitostølen, beaten only by Klæbo. Dønnestad fell ill before the Norwegian Cup in Gålå, and was only number 28 in distance.
– I was very disappointed that second place in Beitostølen was not enough to go to the World Cup, but I saw the possibility of keeping the selection, Dønnestad told NRK.
– I think Dønnestad and Jenssen should be ahead of Iversen. The smartest thing about Dønnestad is probably not going to Gålå at all, says Fredrik Aukland.
Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig defended the recall as follows in a text message:
“There is always a lot of emotion in selection, and I respect the athletes who are disappointed not to be selected. We believe we have followed the selection criteria which were clearly explained in the season information when we selected the squad for Lillehammer.”
– This is the start of the first individual year in skating at the World Cup, and we are linked with season information, Eirik Myhr Nossum also told NRK.
– The knife to the throat is very sharp
Former sprint great Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who is now a Viaplay expert, defended Iversen’s withdrawal.
– The weak race to Iversen on Sunday can be partly explained. That was the start of the chase, he opened really hard for the lead and got pretty stiff. early He never removed the acid, and then things quickly looked ugly. Like it or not, regular national team runners get the chance to prove that such races are accidents at work, Sundby told NRK.
On the other hand, he wasn’t sure if Iversen was smart enough to actually run the race.
– Emil had a weak season last year as well, and with a start like that at Ruka, he went with a knife to his throat which is very sharp and very close to a major artery. “If I were Emil I would probably be standing in Lillehammer to prepare for the World Cup in Beitostølen next weekend to show he is good enough for the Tour de Skii,” said Sundby.
Jan Thomas Jenssen emphasized that he fully understood that Emil Iversen was taking advantage of the place that had been given by the national team management.
– I’ll do that too. As a skier in Norway, you take every chance you get. So I’m not blaming Iversen, it’s the system I’m criticizing. Nossum and Bjervig had to be alert enough to see this, said Trønder.
Emil Iversen has not yet responded to NRK’s questions on Monday.
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