|Norwegian National Team Announced|
Thomas Alsgaard, a close runner-up in the men's overall 2002 cross-country world cup, leads a very competitive Norwegian men's cross-country team into the 2003 season.
The team will consist of 5 "overall" skiers and 4 sprinters. Alsgaard, with 3 world cup wins in the 2002 season and silver and gold from the 2002 Olympics, is joined by Anders Aukland, recording 3 world cup wins last season in his first year on the A team and placing 3rd in the overall world cup.
Others on the team are Frode Estil, with 2 silver and a gold from the 2002 Olympic games, Kristen Skjeldal, with gold in the relay from the Olympic games and 4th overall in the world cup, and Oddbjoern Hjelmeset, who won bronze in the men's 50k in the Olympic games.
Norway has 4 of the top 5 men of the overall standings World Cup standings.
Carl Henning Gran, having lead the B team last season to 4 world cup wins (Svartedal 3 wins, Bjerkeli 1 win), will take over from Paal Gunnar Mikkelsplass as the head coach.
Gran worked with Erik Roeste from 1996 until 1998 and has been coaching national teams since then.
It is certainly not an easy task to qualify for the Norwegian sprint team: team, Tor Arne Hetland is world and Olympic champion from 2001 and 2002, Jens Arne Svartedal won 3 world cup events in the 2002 season and was second in the overall sprint world cup, Trond Iversen won the 2002 sprint cup and Haavard Bjerkeli placed 5th in the sprint cup.
Morten Broers, the 2000 sprint world cup winner, Jan Verdenius, the 2001 sprint world cup winner and Haavard Solbakken, the bronze medal winner from Lathi 2001, are all out.
Trond Einar Elden, placing 2nd, 4th and 5th in sprint world cup events in the 2002 season, is on the B team.
The women's team is marked by the return of veteran skiers Anita Moen (34) with bronze and silver from the 2002 Olympic games, Hilde Pedersen (37) with silver in the relay from the 2002 Olympics and Olympic and many time World Champion Bente Skari (29). These veterans lead the 8 woman Norwegian national team for the 2002/2003 season.
Vibeke Skofterud, several times roller ski world champion and on the podium in world cup events last season, is also on the team as are classic specialist Tina Bay, silver medallist from the relay in the 2002 Olympics, Marit Bjoergen, sprinter May Helen Sorkmo and youngster Kine Bjoernas.
Svein Tore Samdal, himself former junior world champion from the junior worlds in the early 90's, will continue as head coach.
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