Madshus racer Haavard Solaas Taugboel (NOR) steps it up as he enters the senior level and sets his goals high: the U23 World Championships and the Lillehammer World Cup races in December. The Lillehammer World Cup races are on home turf for the 20-year-old, and would be a dream come true for the ambitious young racer, who skis for Team Coop Talent/Lillehammer Skiklub.
QUICK FACTS: HAAVARD SOLAAS TAUGBOEL
Merits: 2 medals from FIS Junior World Championships, 3 gold medals from Norwegian Junior National Championships
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Madshus racer Haavard Solaas Taugboel (NOR) aims for the top from the get-go. The Lillehammer World Cup in December and the FIS U23 World Championships top his list for the season. Photo: Team Coop Talent
What are your goals for the coming season – main goals and others?
Haavard: U23 World Championships in Val di Fiemme and be able to race World Cup events. In order to get there, I have to deliver at the Norwegian national championships, Scandinavian Cup (COC) and the Norwegian Cup.
Is there anything you have worked extra on leading up to this season, and if so, what?
Haavard: I have focused on more quality in every workout, and somewhat less volume overall.
What are your thoughts about the World Cup races on your home turf in Lillehammer, December 7-8?
Haavard: It will be a huge event with an incredible atmosphere. I don’t expect to be named to the national team for those races, but if I were, it would be a huge bonus for me. These races are on the trails I grew up on, so it would be a dream come true if I were picked for the team. And if not, I will certainly be there, cheering on any of my Team Coop Talent teammates who get to race.
What distances and courses do you like, and what is your favorite venue?
Haavard: I like all kinds of distances and courses. If I am fit and ready, the distance and the course don’t matter.
Have you done any ski marathons, and if so, how did that go?
Haavard: I raced the Birkebeiner, and it was both an incredible experience as well as the hardest thing I have done.
What are your thoughts about marathon racing: Is that a career track for you?
Haavard: So far, I have no plans to switch to marathons. I focus on the traditional distances and World Cup circuit, but I do some marathons whenever they are convenient and fit into the overall race schedule.
What is your best ski racing memory?
Haavard: Junior Nationals in Stryn, the 10km classic race. I never felt tired, and could just gun it forever, as if there was no end.