By Johan Trygg
Max Novak, Team Ramudden, was a refreshing addition to the Pro Tour in season X. In his first season, he won the Youth competition and finished second in the Sprint competition.
Now the 24-year-old Swede is ready to make new impressions during Season XI.
“I hope to be able to come with some surprises,” says Novak.
Together with his teammates in Team Ramudden, Novak has prepared on-site in Switzerland the last week. The Pro team stayed in Celerina just outside St. Moritz ahead of Engadin La Diagonela on Saturday.
It has been some really cold days in the Engadin valley, but it was not quite as cold on Wednesday when we talked with Novak.
“Today it felt warm. Only -14 degrees Celsius,” says Novak with a little laugh.
“I had a rest day, but there were still some ski tests. That is something that must also be done,” he continues.
It has been a slightly strange beginning of this winter for Novak. It started with him winning the Swedish season premiere of 15 kilometers classic style 7 seconds ahead of the Swedish world cup skier William Poromaa. After the race, Novak said he bet money on Poromaa as the winner. Betting in a competition you participate in yourself in is not allowed; it ended up Novak being suspended by the Swedish ski federation from competitions and organized club training for a month - until January 9th.
“When I was told about the suspension and what it meant, I got a new training plan from my coach Mattias Reck. It felt good because I was hungry for more solid training and had a lot of motivation left.”
“I decided to see the suspension as an opportunity. It did not affect me negatively,” he states.
“I have stayed indoors doing my intervals on Ski Erg or a treadmill. I didn’t want to scare any with my speed at Östersund ski stadium,” Novak jokes.
“When you train indoors, it’s easy to see that you train at the right intensity, and you get clear feedback about your status. I have received answers that I am in a good position,” he continues.
But of course, there have been many hours of skiing outdoors as well for Novak. On Tuesday, Max did a five-hour training session with his teammate, the young Norwegian Herman Paus.
The victory at the Swedish season premiere in Bruksvallarna gave Novak confidence.
“There, I could see that I was on the right path.”
Now Novak is ready to make new impressions in the Pro tour during Season XI.
“I hope to be able to come with some surprises,” he says.
Novak also believes a lot in his teammates ahead of season XI.
“I think Lina (Korsgren) is better than ever. Most things have fallen into place for her, and she can challenge for the yellow bib.”
“Ida (Dahl) and Jenny (Larsson) both look really strong. I have been training with Herman for the last few days, and it seems promising. Johannes (Eklöf) has also shown good form. I think it will go well for us individually but also that we can be a factor in the Team competition.”
What does your own goal look like for season XI?
“My training is set up for the big races like Jizerska and Vasaloppet, but I will take it race by race. But even if the goal is to have top shape later in the season, I have a good feeling now and think I can perform at the first events.”
“I think the end of La Diagonela course suits me well as it will be this year when the finish line is not up in Zuoz. It’s a challenging part the last 10-15 km, but then it ends with a fast sprint,” Novak concludes.