Norwegian Olympic sprint Champion Tor Arne Hetland felt good about his third place finish in Saturday’s 15 kilometer skate race in the Norwegian cross country opening weekend. Not much had gone right for Hetland lately.
â€œIt felt good to finally make progress and ski fast after a tough period. This is good for my confidenceâ€
Hetland failed in the prolog at the World Cup sprint opening in DÃ¼sseldorf two weeks ago and did not make it to the next round (was not among the top 16 skiers). He also raced a bad sprint in this weekend’s sprint race at Beitostolen, was involved in a scuffle in the quarter-final and did not advance. This 15 kilometer was his first good individual race this year.
Â â€œI felt good about my race. Two skiers skied faster — that’s the way it is. This would have been close to top ten in a World Cup raceâ€
Saturday’s race was not held in Hetland’s favorite conditions. It was 10 centimeter of new fallen snow. Because of this he started more controlled than usual. He hopes to ski even faster in next Saturday’s World Cup race, also at Beitostolen.Â
â€œI captured a 4th place in last year’s opening World Cup race in Kiruna. I can be close to that if I can see as much progress from now until Saturday as I saw from last weekend’s time-trial to this weekend’s raceâ€. I have ambitionsâ€.
You are not in your best shape yet?
â€œEveryone is saying that they are not at their best at this time of year, but there are no races where it’s being skied as fast as the first World Cup race. It’s the hardest race to place well inâ€.Â
The Norwegian sprint coach, Ulf Morten Aune was also happy with Hetland’s race.
â€œHe was supposed to start a little easier and ski a steady race. He managed to do that. He can ski even faster than this. There’s more in the tankâ€.