The world's best biathlete, Martin Fourcade of France, is ready for the Norwegian Cross-Country opener, 15 km free technique in Beitostølen, on Friday November 16th. Petter Northug jr. and Martin Johnsrud Sundby will get a tough competitor in the national season opening.
"I am going to Norway on November 4th as the snow arrives there earlier than in southern Europe. The low height is also very important to me. Before competing Beitostølen I will carry out with my teammates a ten-daytraining camp in Sjusjøen," Fourcade said to skiforbundet.no
FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Gällivare
Fourcade does not focus only on the Norwegian opening in Valdres. "The goal is to compete also in the Cross-Country World Cup opener in Gällivare, but I have to show my skills first. Therefore, 15 km in Beitostølen is very important to me. Competing against Petter Northug jr. will be very interesting, he is one of the world's best skiers. There will be also other very good athletes," Fourcade said.
Fourcade counts among the fastest skiers on the biathlon circuit. Last winter he conquered the overall World Cup. The Frenchman has had a great season, which was topped with three individual World Championship gold.
"Cross-Country Skiing competition is a challenge for me. It will be the first one for me since 2008," Fourcade claimed.
"We have received confirmation that Martin will start in Beitostølen. It's cool that he wants to compete competing against the world's best Cross-Country skiers. He will be warmly welcomed in Beitostølen," the event manager Erik Østli said.
Also Norway's Cross-Country team boss Vidar Løfshus was happy about the news. "It's really good that the world's best biathlete will be in Beitostølen. We know he is strong in skating and it will be a nice competition with our athletes," the head coach said.
The snow is ready
The Norwegian Cross-Country and biathlon season opener takes place on 15-17 November. After the cancellation of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup last week, organisers stored the snow over the summer and a 3.3 km loop can be prepared almost any time. "We have lost only 10 to 15 percent over the summer," the event manager Erik Østli revealed.
The idea came from Vuokatti in Finland, where they have a long time experience. The snow has been covered by a huge amount of sawdust. The project has been carried out in close cooperation between OC Beitostølen, the College of Gjøvik, Bioforsk, Innovation Norway Municipality, Hedmark Council, the Norwegian Ski Federation and business in Beitostølen.
"This is a very exciting project that we are a part. For the future, it will be also useful experience for the rest of Norway, and we are very happy with the development so far," the event manager of the Norwegian Ski Federation Terje Lund claimed.
Press Release Norwegian Ski Federation