There will be neither Vasaloppet nor any other long distance competition for Norway's ace Petter Northug during the forthcoming winter. Instead, he sets his sights on on the first win in the FIS Tour de Ski and defence of three World Championship gold medals from Holmenkollen at the World Championships 2013.
Petter Northug's manager Lars Gilleberg confirmed to VG Nett that Northug will not go any long distance competition this winter and the next one either. Then the focus is on the Olympics in Sochi.
Petter Northug powered to the 10th place in Marcialonga and was supported to start in Vasaloppet last winter. He had to withdraw from the most famous popular competition due to illness. "Petter has contract with Team United Bakeries for two seasons. However, it is clear that he will not be competing in long distance competitions this season, it's in the contract, and it has been the plan all the way, says Gilleberg to VG Nett.
There will be though one popular competition that Petter Northug will take part in, Skarverennet at Geilo, but it is held in April and by then World Ski Championship and the World Cup season is over.
The major goal for both Northug and Marit Bjørgen is to win the FIS Tour de Ski for the first time, a competition in which Norway has failed so far to take home the overall victory. Norwegian Cross-Country team plans no to enter the Tour with full quote, most likely with five men and six ladies.
"If we go with the full quota of 18 skiers, we would not not be 100% focused on Peter and Marit" sports director Vidar Löfshus says to VG.
Contributed by Kjell-Erik Kristiansen, www.sweski.com