Wednesday, 06 December 2017 10:31

Kick ’n’ Glide - Great Britain Nordic Ski team at Lillehammer World Cup in images

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Every four years we turn on our televisions and watch incredibly dedicated athletes doing amazing things at the Olympics, then they vanish from our radar of another four years. Meanwhile they train, train some more, and train and race more again, all so they can qualify for the next Olympics. Meanwhile ‘mainstream’ sports soak up endless hours of TV time.

Winter sports make a brief appearance on our screens in the UK when Ski Sunday comes along for a couple of months through December and January. Previously it would have focused on alpine events - downhill, slalom, giant slalom etc. Now however there are the cool sports of snowboarding and park and pipe skiing to add a youthful extreme element to Sunday nights BBC viewing. The current crop of British Snowsports athletes deserve all the coverage they get, yet there are still some great performances occurring below the radar, especially in sports where there is very little British sporting heritage.

Nordic is undoubtedly one of Britain’s cinderella sports, last in the limelight when Eddie Edwards was doing his thing, but we’ve now got some serious players. Andrew Musgrave placed 4th in the Men’s 50km freestyle at the the 2017 World Championships in Lahti, Finland; and in December 2015 Andrew Young made British Cross Country skiing history by becoming the first Brit to podium in a World Cup, finishing 3rd in the freestyle sprint event at Toblach in Italy. Meanwhile the production line of young skiers coming out of Huntly Nordic Ski Club in Aberdeenshire continues with Calum Smith, who started out on their Junior Development Squad, now competing at World Cup level and joining Musgrave and Young at PyeongChang Winter Olympics. With Annika Taylor also qualified and Nichole Bathe with the door still open.

Last weekend the Federation International de Ski’s World Cup Tour rolled in to Lillehammer for the second event of the season and we got a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. As Andrew Musgrave took a promising 13th in the mens skiathlon, with seven Norwegians ahead of him and smaller teams in the Olympics it bodes well for PyeongChang. Thanks to support from Visit Norway and Visit Lillehammer we were able to send top photographer Henry Iddon to cover the event in a photo-story.

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Inside the Norwegian Team's mobile waxing and ski prep articulated truck

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Ski tech at work Inside the Norwegian Team's mobile waxing and ski prep articulated truck

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Russian and Finland Team Ski Team's mobile waxing and ski prep articulated trucks

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GB Nordic Sprint Performance coach Jostein Hestmann Vinjerui noting down data from an early morning ski glide test before the sprint event.

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GB Nordic performance coach Jostein Hestmann Vinjerui and World Cup skier Andrew Young carrying out ski glide test before the sprint event, Lillehammer WC.

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GB Nordic performance coach Jostein Hestmann observing ski glide test before the sprint event, Lillehammer WC.

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In contrast to GB Nordic van the Norwegian Team have a double decker articulated lorry full of state of the art ski tech and waxing facilities.

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Racer bibs, being prepared for the Sprint event at Lillehammer XC Ski World Cup.

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With events starting at 8.45 am, racers and team staff are preparing before sunrise at Lillehammer XC Ski Word Cup.

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GB Nordic performance coach Jostein Hestmann Vinjerui leads out skiers Callum Smith and Andrew Young in to the warm up area.

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GB Nordic's van outside the waxing rooms. The ten teams ranked above them in the world rankings have vast trucks kitted out with waxing and ski preparation facilities.

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GB’s Andrew Young during the prologue qualification for the Men’s 1.5km Sprint event - he missed qualifying for the knock out sprint rounds by 1.89 seconds.

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GB’s Calum Smith during the prologue qualification for the Men’s 1.5km Sprint event - he        missed qualifying for the knock out sprint rounds by 18.44 seconds.

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GB Sprint Performance coach Jostein Hestmann Vinjerui and Head Coach Roy Young inside the team waxing cabin.

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Portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II on the door of the GB waxing and ski prep cabin.

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GB Nordic Team support staff along with analysts from the Scottish Institute of Sport discussing the split times and data from the Sprint Prologue. The British team has formed close links with Lillehammer Ski Club who's members lend extra support at selected events.

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GB ski and wax technicians Eirik Lorentsen and Jo-Alexander Lænn play a critical but unseen roll. Cross country ski waxing and preparation is effected by temperature, snow type and humidity.

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GB ski and wax technician Eirik Lorentsen working under the watchful gaze of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

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GB ski and wax technician Jo-Alexander Lænn applying fresh wax to one of Andrew Musgrave’s skis.

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Anyone looking in to cabin 15 would be in no doubt which team were working in there, with a portrait of The Queen and Union Jack prominently on the wall.

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In support of World Cup regulars Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgrave and Andrew 'Youngy' Young there will be up to 35 pairs of skis to be prepared per event. For Health and Safety reasons waxers wear ventilation mask supplying clean air.

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Race day schedule on the wax room wall

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Norwegian, Maiken Caspersen Falla winning ladies 1.3km classic sprint final.

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Norwegian wonderkind Johannes Klaebo winning the mens 1.5km classic sprint.

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Great Britain's Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgrave on his way to 13th in the Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon - 15km classic immediately followed by 15km freestyle (skate).

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Great Britain's Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgrave on his way to 13th in the Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon - here leading Japan’s Keishin Yoshida on the main climb during one of the four classic style laps.

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Great Britain's Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgrave on his way to 13th in the Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon . Here leading Russian Andrey Larkov and Norwegian Sindre Bjoernestad Skar on the main climb during one of the four freestyle laps.

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Great Britain's Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgravem on his way to 13th in the Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon. The 8 lap race - 4 laps classic and 4 freestyle includes 1250m of climbing over the 30km race distance.

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Great Britain's Andrew 'Muzzy' Musgravem on his way to 13th in the Lillehammer World Cup Skiathlon. The 8 lap race - 4 laps classic and 4 freestyle includes 1250m of climbing over the 30km race distance.

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As soon as one event is over and while the atgletes are warming down the support staff are packing up to move on to the next event - 5 days later th ewhole process restarts in Davos Switzerland.

 

 

 

Read 341 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 11:20

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