U23 and Junior report: Erlend Blikra (interview)

By Jakob Lloreda

Ciclismo-Internacional opened a new section (U23 and junior report) in which the aim is to shed light on the evolution of some of the world’s most talented up-and-coming youngsters. We will try to in light our readers about the future stars of the sport, where their come from, their dreams, strengths or weaknesses on the bike etc.

Ciclismo-Internacional had a good chat with one of the most exciting young prospects from Norway: Erlend Blikra.erlend

Tell me a little about yourself Erlend..

I am from Stavanger, the fourth biggest city located in the southwest of Norway. I started cycling when I was 10 years of age. I am a member of “Stavanger sykleklubb” which, in my opinion, is the best cycle club we have here in Norway, and, which by far has won the most medals at the Norwegian national championships in recent years. Alexander Kristoff and Sven Erik Bystrøm are also members of SSK for example. I sometimes train together with them but not very often. However, it’s nice to soak up a little of their experience from time to time nevertheless.

Next year (2015) will be your second in the junior category. What are your ambitions and goals for the year?

I do not have very big ambitions for the first half of the 2015 season. I aim to peak later in the season. My goal next year is to become National Champion and hopefully World Champion as well. That’s my big dream and what I am aiming for to achieve.

How has your off-season been so far?

I have been struggling with a muscle injury in my right thigh as a result of too much and too hard training prior to the World Championships in Spain. I am getting better now, but it has been a hard period and taken time to recover. My off-season, therefore, has not been very good, and my shape last year was much better at the same time. I don’t believe I will be in good shape until pretty late in the 2015 season.

How would you describe yourself as a cyclist? What are your strengths and weaknesses and what type of rider do you dream of becoming?

I would describe myself as a mix between an all-rounder and a sprinter. I am fast in a sprint, especially on a slightly hilly course. I can also handle short time-trials and cobbles. I am not a light rider (I am 183 cm, and my weight is about 75 kg (during season).) so mountainous terrain and longer hills are my biggest weaknesses for sure.

My dream is to become a strong classic rider one day, someone in the mold of Thor Hushovd or Alexander Kristoff for example.

Have you ever had any kind of idol? Someone you have looked up to or maybe feel you can relate too?

My idol would be Alexander Kristoff definitely, because of many reasons really. He is a great rider and has a very good attitude. He is also from Stavanger, and has underdone much of the same training and schooling as I do currently. He has shown that it is entirely possible to become a pro-cyclist in Stavanger, which gives me so much hope and motivation for the future.

What are your dream races to win in the future? Do you have any races, which are particular appealing to you?

I have a dream of winning Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships. I would truly like to be competitive in those kinds of races. I have a very good trainer in Erik Aasland who has been with me for many years now, and he really means a lot to me and for my development as a rider. I hope he will help shape me into a good classic rider in the future.

How popular is cycling becoming in Norway? There must have been some sort of boom with the excellent performances of Kristoff, Bystrom for example.

Cycling has been a popular sport in Norway for many years actually, much thanks to Thor Hushovd and his great results. He has been a great ambassador for the sport here in Norway. Alexander Kristoff is also a very popular rider, especially during Tour de France a lot of people tune in to see him.

You had a excellent 2014 season are you satisfied with how it went? Maybe the World Championships didn’t go quit as you had hoped and expected?

I am very satisfied with how this season turned out, especially the first half where I was in my best shape. My shape was not so good at the European Championships, however. The World Championships didn’t go as I had hoped either, I had very high expectations and wanted to do well, but as I mentioned my thigh injury was really bothering me and meant I was not optimal prepared.

Your brother (Haavard) is a young talented cyclist as well. Do you guys help each other out? Is he ready to share of his experience and give advice? It must be an advantage having a big-brother who is a cyclist as well.

It wonderful having a big-brother who is a cyclist as well. Haavard has a lot of experience with both training and competitions, and gives me plenty of good advice. I also have someone to try to reach and compare myself against and that motivates me highly; we are very close and have an excellent understanding of each other so yes definitely it helps having him around.

Jakob Lloreda

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