Laponder hopeful of reaping summer gains in Sochi battle

12 October 2013 / 12:49

ritish biathlete Marcel Laponder has revealed the extent of his non-stop training as he attempts to emerge victorious from a three-way battle of Britain for a place at Sochi 2014.

Laponder will go up against Kevin Kane and Vancouver 2010 Olympian Lee Jackson this season with official confirmation for Sochi 2014 unlikely to come before January.

The World Cup series will act as the stage for Laponder, Kane and Jackson to lay claim to the spot, the season opener taking place in Sweden at the end of next month.

A further two follow before the turn of the year in Austria and France with another three prior to the cut off and Laponder having not stopped since last season ended in March.

With the snow melting in his base of six years in Ruhpolding in Germany, Laponder switched to roller skis and he’s adamant training in the summer could prove beneficial.

“It is never off-season for us. April is our hang time but this year I chose to train straight through, I hardly took a break, a few days,” said Laponder.

“There is an off-season from racing but there never really is one from training. There are certain elements that you can’t really train for.

“Roller skiing on tarmac is a simulation of skiing on snow and you can simulate the movement and technique but there is one element you can’t.

“It is that slipping element, and the ski going into the snow and gliding that you can’t simulate. Most people just have a one-speed roller ski but I have two, a fast set and a slow set.

“On snow conditions change all the time, sometimes it is wet, sometimes it is dry and that affects the speed tremendously.

“I am trying to simulate it so I am not training all the time on fast roller skis and when I get to snow and I am like ‘this is slow’.”

Born and raised in South Africa, Laponder moved to the UK aged 21 and soon joined the army – where he discovered the sport of biathlon.

And he insists competing at the Olympics in Sochi next year would be the perfect way to say thank you to those who have supported him.

“I feel Britain has done a lot for me – the opportunities the army and GB have given me, it will almost be like a payback,” he added.

“I did a bit of triathlon and road cycling in South Africa for a few years but when I moved to the UK I stopped and it wasn’t until I started biathlon that I seriously started training again.”

© Sportsbeat 2013