Stian Berg, Team Kaffebryggeriet, got off to a tough start of Season XII but didn’t give up and fought for his second Visma Ski Classic’s green Sprint bib.
“When you finally manage to win it, it feels nice and you get something back because you have fought through tough periods,” says Berg.
Stian Berg won the Visma Ski Classics Sprint bib Season X, 2019-2020, and was one of the favorites to win the Sprint competition in Season XI as well. Then he had most part of the season ruined by a tenacious covid-19 infection.
For season XII, the 28-year-old Norwegian was back with a clear goal to win the Sprint competition for the second time.
How does it feel to win the Sprint competition when you have it as a stated goal?
“Well, it feels good even if I’m only moderately satisfied with the season. I had a very good summer and autumn. I trained well and my body responded well, and I was in a good phase before the start of the season. Then I got a period of illness in December which made January very tough, nothing worked,” says Berg and continues;
“But then I always had the sprint bib to fight for and it was important to always try to take the points I could. When you finally manage to win it, it feels nice and you get something back because you have fought through tough periods.”
When did it feel the best this winter?
“Maybe at Jizerská and Tartu. I felt pretty good but at Jizerská I didn’t have the best skis but I felt, for the first time during the season, that the body responded well during the race.”
“At Tartu I didn’t have the best skis in the beginning of the race but in the end I was in the big sprint for second place. Then the crash maybe stopped me from my best result so far in Ski Classics.”
When was the toughest time?
“Maybe it was at Pustertaler Ski Marathon and La Diagonela. Nothing worked for me and I knew I would be down in Europe for a month. It was tough and frustrating because I didn’t know what to do. For a while I thought that maybe I should go home to Norway and take it easy for a while. But I stayed and fight for the points even if everything didn’t work as desired.”
Now another focus awaits Stian Berg in the coming seasons. It is no longer the sprint bib that is the main goal.
How are your thoughts ahead of next season?
“I feel done with the green bib, but you never know. I’m aiming for new goals and challenges, to be high up in the Champion competition the coming season.”
“There will probably still not be such big changes in terms of training. It is important to stay healthy and free from injuries. I have had some problems with injuries in the last three or four years. If I can just get continuity in the training, I think it will be good.”
“I have not trained specifically for the sprint. I know I have the speed in me. Of course I train on it a bit too and it can of course benefit me when I have to fight for top places at the end of the races as well. Maybe I should invest in having some more workouts in longer slopes which is my biggest weakness. To increase my capacity a bit.”
What does the near future look like in terms of training?
“It will be a little easier for a while after a tough season and considering some minor injuries I have. The body needs a longer rest period now. However, I am so happy to train so I notice that after two or three days on the couch I want to go out train again. Some alternative training is waiting, I like to do some Randonnée. It will be a part of the training in April and May.”
“I will probably use the whole of May to adapt the body for hard training. I will try to hold back a bit and maybe be in a little worse shape in the summer than I used to be, Berg concludes.”