Petter Northug impressed at Blink Classics and now says that he has had enough of the “recreational skier” life and aims to become part of Ski Classics in the upcoming winter, reports VG.
“This year, I hope to assert myself. I am now training to participate in some of the Ski Classics races this winter. Then I want to be in the lead. Some races don’t suit me because of the course profile, but some that suit me very well,” says Northug to VG.
And continues his thoughts:
“As of today, there is a team of one man, but I already want to add two or three skiers before this season and maybe more from next season.”
During the Ski Classics Season XII, Petter Northug started at some long-distance races but without significant results. He was 60th at Marcialonga and 79th at La Diagonela. According to VG, “since the snow melted, he has been training well and impressed those who follow cross-country skiing and the first rollerski races this summer. On Thursday, he left his mark on Blinkfestivalen’s long-distance race, winning a sprint prize after 40km in front of the national team skiers and the strongest long-distance skiers.”
“Petter Northug is about to make a comeback. He has been training well since the New Year, only interrupted by some illness and other things. Petter trains well. He is not a ‘recreational skier,'” says Northug’s expert and long-distance skiing colleague, Petter Skinstad.
For August and September, Northug has three rollerski races on his calendar: Toppidrettsveka, Alliansloppet, and Klarälvsloppet, the last two being part of the Ski Classics Challengers.
“There are three long-distance races, which I train for. I train double poling, longer distances, and I try to train as specifically as possible.”
Team Ragde Charge skiers Andreas Nygaard (31), last season’s Ski Classics overall winner, share his thoughts about Northug’s comeback.
“What is certain is that if Petter has great ambitions and does the work required, then mass start long-distance races will suit him like a glove.”
“It looks like Petter has a pretty good base. But it is probably just short of what is required for Marcialonga, which is the first important race. He won’t get on the podium there no matter what he does. But if he does what is in his power until the Vasaloppet, I think it is a race he can win.”
Nygaard also points out Northug’s importance for the Ski Classics circuit.
“It’s clear. Petter Northug is probably the biggest sportsman in Norway in terms of media for as long as I’ve been alive. Joining will be positive for Ski Classics.”
According to VG, “although it will not be part of the same team, Northug will create a joint plan with logistics, waxing and service personnel together with colleague Skinstad. Exactly which races he will start in the winter has not yet been decided, but it seems they will be the most exciting ones.”
“When I train on something and know my body so well, I know what I must train and do to have the level I’m working for. Then I have to train a little based on my age, strengths, and weaknesses, and then I think I’ll get along well,” concludes Petter Northug to VG.
Text: Marthe Katrine Myhre
Photo: Sebastian Lamotte/Bildbyrån