Swedish team on fire before Tour de Ski
“The athletes are loaded and ready for a full attack from the very beginning” Joakim Abrahamsson and Rikard Grip says.
Fog, strong wind and a fairly grey atmosphere is what meets the Swedish team the day before the start. “The weather isn’t great in Mid-Europe either, but none of the athletes care about that. They’re all eager to get the sixth edition of Tour de Ski started as if it were the World Championships or the Olympics”.
During the last 5 editions, Sweden has had podium finishes in the various stages. Once they managed to have an athlete on the podium after the last stage of Tour de Ski, that’s when Charlotte Kalla won the ladies tour in 2008.
“The goal this year is of course that we should be able to compete for podium finishes when it is getting closer to the finals in this long and exciting ski adventure” Joakim Abrahamsson says.”Both Hellner and Rickardsson are healthy. “Both of them are in great shape. Up until Christmas they had double work-outs, the last couple of days they’ve scaled down the amount of work-out and are hungry for the tour to start”.
Marcus Hellner is currently ranked fifth in the overall World Cup and Joakim Abrahamsson consideres his curve to be escalating. “That’s correct. Hellner is to be considered as one of the main contenders this year, just like Rickardsson. Tour de Ski has been their main focus from the beginning of the season”.
Ladies head coach Rikard Grip is excited to see what can happen. Charlotte Kalla is to start, but with an uncertainty in terms of her shape. “No one knows what she can do. We should not have too high expectations on her, but I think she can do at least one or more strong “Kalla-races” when the tour has get started”.