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Klæbo Out Of The National Team?

The Norwegian national team for the coming season will be presented in a few days. It is not sure that Johannes Høsflot Klæbo will be on the team.

Photo: Modica/NordicFocus

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo.

Johannes Høsflot Klæbo has repeatedly said he will do what he believes is best for his long-term development. So far, the 26-year-old has done it under the national team umbrella, among other things, to satisfy formal requirements concerning selection for the championships. 

The Norwegian Skiing Association has a rule that states that athletes who refuse national team offers cannot be selected for World Cups and Championships. 

Point 205.2 of the Norwegian Ski Association’s regulations states:

“Skiers who have refused an offer to participate in NSF’s national team shall not be selected by NSF to represent NSF in competitions in the season in which the offer of a place in the national team applies unless there are special circumstances.”

If the rule is revoked, Klæbo can run a private plan if he believes it will be the best for his sporting development. 

About the Altitude – Again

The coming winter is a season without major championships. Next is the 2025 World Championships, which will be held in Trondheim, then the 2026 Olympics in Milan. This means that the coming winter is about laying the foundations for the World Championships on home soil. 

For Klæbo, it will involve a comprehensive altitude plan, part of a long-term plan toward the Olympics in three years. In recent years, the national team has not prioritized altitude training. Still, the national team management has nevertheless made arrangements for Klæbo to be able to run its altitude program – mainly at the national team’s expense. 

This altitude arrangement was part of the dispute during the negotiations between Team Klæbo and the Skiing Association ahead of the season 2022/23. It meant the contract was not signed until June, even though the season formally started in May. 

Klæbo and his manager-father, Haakon Klæbo, will neither deny nor confirm whether Klæbo breaks with the national team this year. However, they confirm that it is being negotiated. 

“We do not want to go into how the communication with the association is in connection with the new season. We have not decided on whether it will be the national team or not,” writes Haakon Klæbo in an email to VG, and continues:

“What is certain is that Johannes will continue with the training work he has started for the World Championships in Trondheim 2025. That plan includes, among other things, many days at altitude. Then we’ll see how this is organized, outside or within the Norwegian Ski Association.”

If Klæbo chooses to break with the national team, it will undoubtedly have significant consequences for the Ski Association, not least financially. 

Without Klæbo – the world’s best cross-country skier – the market value of the national team as a sponsor object falls. It was precisely for this reason that the controversial rule that skiers who say no to the national team can only exceptionally be selected. It happened after Petter Northug broke with the national team in 2013. 

Cross-country manager Espen Bjervig has yet to respond to VG’s inquiries about the situation. 

Also read: The Norwegian Ski Association Loses Multi-Million Dollar Sponsor 

Several skiers have already chosen to turn down a place in the national team next season. 

Kristine Stavås Skistad, currently the world’s best sprinter, continues her efforts in her club Konnerud IL. 

Astrid Øyre Slind, the Pro Tour skier who joined the national team and won two medals during the ski World Championships in Planica, has decided to stay in the Norwegian squad Team Aker Dæhlie for the season as well.

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