Hjelmset: Better Than In Lahti
Frode Estil delivered an impressive second leg in the relay where only World Champion sprinter Vassilij Rotsjev was able to hang with.
The Norwegian men were completely dominant in today’s World Championship relay. This surprised Frode Estil.
-There is often one skier who isn’t having the best day, but that’s not how it was for us today. It went almost surprisingly well and it was fun to win without any of the other ski powerhouses close by. This was perhaps the relay where I myself skied best, but it’s the team before the individual, says Estil.
He started out controlled on the second leg, but when he went out on the second round it was only the World Champion from the sprint, Russia’s Vassilij Rotsjev, who managed to hang with the Norwegian.
-I like the hills, so I wanted to be in first there. I wanted to have a draft on the easier flats, it was there that Rotsjev was helpful. It was a perfect race with perfect skis. I wanted to ski as conservatively as possible on the first round but I was a little worried about Rotsjev. He is an unpredictable racer and I was afraid he would go hard from the start. I didn’t want to start too hard. Even when we got the gap on Italy and Germany I knew there would be more. If one gets stiff in the steeper hills it can get really tough, says the Norwegian.
He thought that it was fine that Tore Ruud Hofstad decided the relay as early as he did.
-I was a little surprised because I hadn’t thought that he would get a gap before getting into the stadium, I wasn’t quite prepared for it. But it was nice to not have to have a pulse of 160 at the finish, says Estil laughingly.
He has then managed to reach his goal of two medals at the Championships and he still has the 50km ahead of him.
-So now I can go without any real pressure, and that is a good start. I want a medal in that event too and I have to good chance. But I have to have as good skies as today and be in as good of shape, says Estil.
Berger: First Time For Everything
Tor Ruud Hofstad and Norway cruise into the finish for the gold medal in today’s relay.
When Tore Ruud Hofstad went out on the last leg of the relay with a Russian that he had never heard of before, he had a pretty good feeling that the victory was secure.
Russia’s anchorman Nikolaj Boltsjakov was someone that Hofstad did not know much about.
-I knew nothing about him and I tried checking with head coach Krister Sorgard. He also didn’t know anything. Before the start I tried talking to him to find out if we were going to go hard together. I had a good feeling that I could take him, says Hofstad.
Tomorrow he will race on the Norwegian sprint relay team and will have the possibility of securing himself another championship gold, together with Tor Arne Hetland.
-I was told halfway into the last leg when I was leading by 20 seconds to not go all out. I think it will be a little more difficult tomorrow. I have raced a few sprint races and relays before and it has gone well for me here last year. The course has a lot of V1 sections and if I have skis like today I don’t think there will be any problems. But I can’t say anything for sure, says the Norwegian, who has never skied a sprint relay with Tor Arne Hetland before.
Today he took his 4th championship medal at the age of 25.
-It is an amazing feeling. I have been focusing on the World Championships and it is great when you get some rewards for that. I know that I might have to have some lower results from certain World Cup races to be in good shape for the championships. It was nice that I didn’t have to sprint to the finish today, because everything can happen then, says Hofstad.