Ilia Chernousov: Back to the top again
Ilia Chernousov was once shooting star of the Russian Cross-Country skiing. He is triple silver medalist from Junior and U23 World Championships in Kranj 2006, Tarvisio 2007 and Malles 2008.
Years after were less spectacular and Chernousov struggled to maintain high performance and good results. He was not selected for the Russian squad for Liberec 2009 and missed Olympic Winter Games in Whistler.
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This season the young Russian from Novosibirsk stormed with impressive second place in the Ruka Triple stage over 15 km free and performed well in the pre-Christmas World Cup period. Tour de Ski 2011 found 24 year-old Chernousov in good shape too and before he had to withdraw due to sickness after Oberstdorf he was on 10th place in the Overall Standing. He came back in January on the home snow in Rybinsk and clinched victory in 10+10 km Pursuit. Russian Cross-Country team management could not ignore the World Cup winner and Chernousov got a World Championships ticket to Oslo. He fully paid back having won bronze medal in the 30 km Pursuit and Russian Cross-Country skiing got a new star.
Where did he find the winning margin? “Back in summer I had changed my training scheme. I implemented calmer basic training sessions and combined them with decent interval workouts,” explained Chernousov to fiscrosscountry.com. Russian training system is known for its focus on force, strength and endurance. Bronze medalist from Oslo has chosen slightly different path that brought him to success. “I managed to maximize my strength training through stability training and coordination on slack line,” revealed Chernousov who is strong both in classical and free technique. “I realized that strength and power is not everything. I was working a lot on my classical and free techniques with countless video analysis,” said Chernousov.
Ilia and his compatriot Alexander Legkov have intensified international cooperation. With engagement for Isabel Knauthe as the team physio they discovered new approaches in regeneration, rehabilitation and coordination. Knauthe had worked before with the Swiss Cross-Country team. Unlike previous generations of Russian skiers Chernousov and Legkov have cooperated with other teams. “Several teams like Estonians, Swiss and Germans helped us in organizational and logistical things – that was a great support for us and we are very pleased for it,” explained Chernousov
With the bronze medal from the World Championships Ilia Chernousov gained strength and self-confidence; elements that are as important for success as numerous hours of running, skiing or strength training. “I believe I have found my correct way to success. Most important thing for me is that I have reassured myself that I could fight with the best such as Petter Northug or Dario Cologna as I did several years ago in the Junior and U23 class,” concluded Chernousov.