Petter Northug is recalling first appearance in Nove Mesto
Cross-Country skiing fans will have this weekend the only chance see Norway’s ace Petter Northug in World Cup action before the famous Vasaloppet. On Friday, the 26-year old Norwegian was getting ready for Saturday’s 30 km mass start classic in Nove Mesto na Morave.
Q: Do you remember the roaring atmosphere that welcomed you in Nove Mesto? You were 19 years old, for the first time on the World Cup away from Norway?
Petter Northug: Yes, I do. The day before the race there was nobody and on the competition day… I was almost shocked. I like this kind of atmosphere very much.
Q: Do you like the new tracks? Have you talked with your biathlon colleagues who were competing here in January?
P.N.: No, I did not talk to them. But I like the course here. It is tough and that’s good. There’s not so much space for resting after difficult sections.
Q: Who do you see as the biggest contenders?
P.N.: Dario Cologna has been in great shape. Lukas Bauer will be competing in front of the home crowd. Russians have been very strong. Hellner will be there as well. It’s going to be a tough competition.
Q: How is to combine the training for long distance races and for World Cups after Tour de Ski?
P.N.: First of all I needed to have a rest after the Tour. Then I was getting ready for the Marcialonga. I realized that I have to focus more on the long distance and decided to take part in the World Cup only here in Nove Mesto. My next goal will be Vasaloppet. After that there will be again shorter distance competitions and normal Cross-Country skiing training.
Q: Is it true you decided to focus on the long distance races to get some extra motivation?
P.N.: Yes, I did. Vasaloppet means a lot but on the other hand I want to defend the second place in the Overall World Cup standing.
Q: There have been rumors you do not want any more to face the pressure in Norway and you are thinking of moving abroad. Is it true?
P.N.: No, it’s not like that. I like the pressure, it helps me. Last year, it was extreme before the World Championships on Holmenkollen. Recently I have been only searching new ways how to stay in shape in the future. I will be still competing after the Olympics in Sochi.
Press release Czech Ski Team