Pasta power fuels sprint world champion PELLEGRINO (ITA)

PYEONGCHANG - You can take the athlete out of Italy, but in the case of Federico PELLEGRINO (ITA), you cannot take Italy out of the athlete.

The 27-year-old cross-country sprint star is hoping some last-minute home comforts will help fuel his ambition to reach the podium at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

“In the Village it is OK," PELLEGRINO said. "The food is good but I really want to go to eat something in Casa Italia, just to help remember exactly what I left at home.

“I think that I will go to eat the day before the race, maybe for the two days before the races, for dinner.

"I will eat a lot of pasta. Even here in the Village it is really well cooked. I’ll just go for the atmosphere, for the Italian atmosphere.”

It seems Italy's famous cuisine is a not-so-secret weapon for PELLEGRINO and his teammates.

“Last year in Lahti, Finland (at the world championships), we stayed in a house alone," he said. "We had our cook, we had our food and this was an extra advantage that I could use. I hope to have that here too, but maybe I think this time my prize card will be the skis."

PELLEGRINO won the men's sprint event at the 2017 world championships, although it was contested in the free technique, whereas at PyeongChang 2018 it will be in the classic technique.

“Even if it is not in my preferred technique, I won’t start (the race) beaten.  I know that I have three cards to play to return to Italy with my gold (medal) joy.  I want a medal and I know that the three races which I will try to secure that medal is first of all the sprint classic on Tuesday (13 February). That is the only individual race that I will do."

"Then on Sunday (18 February), the men’s (4x10km) relay and then on Wednesday (February 21) I will do the team sprint - that is the race (in) which we have the most chance to catch the gold. But I just want to think about the races chronologically."

OIS wd/sl/ej