OBERSTDORF (VG) Harald Østberg Amundsen (23) struggled to swallow 43rd place after the race where he was to strengthen his candidacy in the Olympic discussion. At the same time, the “competitor” Sjur Røthe (33) delivered a top race.
Røthe clinked with third place in the 15 kilometer joint start in skating in Oberstdorf on Friday. Amundsen ended up over a minute behind. It was a useful consolation with a 9th place in the sprint for the 23-year-old.
– It was a good experience after a really dark day on New Year’s Eve, says Amundsen to VG.
Monday is the 15 kilometer classic joint start in the Italian Val di Fiemme, and on Tuesday the Tour de Ski ends up “Monsterbakken” in the same place.
– What happened on New Year’s Eve?
– Everything went completely wrong really. Wrong ski choice, bad body and little on the chopping block. It just stopped. I was really disappointed.
He has delivered solid results under pressure almost every time, but believes the bang “had to come sooner or later”.
– I have a twin sister (Hedda, on the recruiting national team) who has had more setbacks than me. She said “it was almost time, Harald, that you also had a bad day”. “Shit happens”. I just have to turn the ship around, says Amundsen.
– But did it come on the wrong day considering the Olympic selection?
– It came on a horribly wrong day. I was far down, but have to fight on in the tour and take the chances I get.
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, Erik Valnes, Emil Iversen, Simen Hegstad Krüger, Håvard Solås Taugbøl and Hans Christer Holund have all been taken to the Olympics. Two seats are left. One goes after all the sun marks to Pål Golberg.
Thus, it is probably Røthe and Amundsen who are fighting for the latter.
– What do you think about the Olympic opportunities now?
– Sjur made a good figure, but at the same time I have beaten him on the other ice rinks this season. I do not know how they emphasize.
– Can your rescue be Emil Iversen’s form failure?
– I do not know how it is. He has not been in shape for a while, but he will probably return, Amundsen answers.
Iversen returned home from the Tour de Ski after hard days to find out the descent. He stated that he will not travel to the Olympics if he does not get better answers than he did in Lenzerheide.
National team coach Eirik Myhr Nossum answers this to the question of whether Iversen’s downturn can open up opportunities for both Røthe and Amundsen – or Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget.
– So far we have not thought. We have taken Emil to the Olympics because we know what he can do when he is level, says Nossum.
Sjur Røthe had a cold before Christmas, and therefore very happy with the rise on New Year’s Eve, which strengthened his Olympic candidacy.
– I have been insecure and excited lately, so very good to have such a good ski race, says Røthe.
Pål Golberg is curious about how the Olympic squad will finally be.
– If Emil does not feel that he has anything to do in the Olympics, he will not travel. He has good results historically, so there will be a conversation between him and the coaches. What Sjur shows with that charge is very impressive. It shows a little about his head, says Golberg.
Røthe is also praised by the boss.
– Brilliantly happy with Sjur’s race. I was unsure of him entering the tour, and very happy that he got to that race, says Nossum.
On January 10, more will be taken out to the Olympics. The Tour de Ski ends with a 15-kilometer joint start and the “Monster Hill” in Val di Fiemme on Monday and Tuesday.