CW finds out about Norwegians and noisy team-mates with multi-lingual Swedish one-day specialist and World Cup runner-up, Emma Johansson

I’m a Swede, but I live in Norway and Belgium. There’s not much difference between Norway and Sweden. It’s a bit more expensive in Norway and people make a bit more money, but you’d have to stay for a long time to notice any real differences.

I went to the Skara Cycling School. Thomas Löfkvist [IAM Cycling rider] was in the year below me, and Gustav Larsson [also IAM] was there too. I wouldn’t have been a professional rider if I hadn’t gone there.

You can’t pay yourself into cycling school in Sweden; you have to have the right results already. I had the same schedule as a normal student, but cycling was our vocation. We had changing rooms and everyone had their own locker with the bike in it and all that.

I had to move away from home when I was 15 or 16. I came from up north in Sweden and had to travel far to get to races, and there wasn’t a lot of cycling up there. It meant a lot of responsibility and made me grow up a bit.

I’ve always dreamt about a house with a tower, with a round room at the top. There would be lots of windows and a big chandelier in the middle. If I won the lottery, that’s what I would spend the money on.

I don’t train on a road bike at all from September until spring. I only use the road bike on the rollers and just go training on my mountain bike outside. You get a break in your mind and you get to go on different roads. I have spikes on my front tyre so I still get good grip.

When I’m not training, I enjoy not doing too much. Sometimes I just go out for a couple 
of hours, walk in the 
snow with friends and family and have a coffee. Sometimes we also have a bonfire and cook some hotdogs, and just chill. We call it ‘easy hike’.

If I was marooned on a desert island, I think I would bring some sun cream. I’d bring some good music and I’d bring Martin, my husband. He can come along too.

The first thing I put in my suitcase are earplugs. You never know who you’re going to end up staying in a room with during a race. Everyone makes their own different noises.

I think I have a thing for languages, and I’ve been speaking English for a long time. When I first came to live in Holland I was working as an au pair, but the mother was Australian, so I’ve maybe picked up a bit of an Australian accent.

I like to believe that I could have done any job I wanted. Cycling has always been what I wanted. People ask me what I’m going to do once it’s gone, but the day I know will be the day I’ll decide to quit.