Petter Northug Jr. is excited to welcome World Cup greats onto his home turf in Troendelag on June 25 through 26. The event, the Tour de Troendelag, consists of three races: a roller ski city criterium on June 25 in Trondheim, then a summer ski race on the Kirkebyfjellet mountain on the morning of June 26 and concludes with a roller ski pursuit race in the afternoon.
“I’m excited to welcome Pietro Piller Cottrer (ITA), Anders Soedergren (SWE), Jaak Mae (EST) and other top World Cup racers to my stomping grounds. It will be fun to race against those guys in a slightly different setting,” Northug says to www.langrenn.com.
Northug, the defending champion from last year’s Tour de Troendelag, will arrive at the race venue straight from a national team training camp and is prepared to fight. Northug will face a Piller Cottrer who is eager to make up for the painful loss to Northug at the Holmenkollen 50K this winter, and a Soedergren who is reported to be in killer shape these days. But Northug doesn’t think he’ll be at a disadvantage.
“I’ll do my first workout that Friday with the national team in Sandane, then the Stjoerdal race as my second. I don’t fear racing after a flight,” says Northug.
Former Olympic gold medalist, world champion and Norwegian national team member Frode Estil is among the event organizers. He is working hard to get both Alexander Legkov (RUS) and Axel Teichmann (GER) to compete next week, and is confident at least one of them will show. He regrets to report that Dario Cologna (SUI) won’t be coming, although it looked promising for a while. Among the local favorites are international stars including Eldar Roenning and Johan Kjoelstad, as well as Team Troendelag’s next generation of elite skiers.
“This is one of the few arenas where juniors and the up-and-coming elite skiers can race with the best in the world. And the feedback is that they find it incredibly motivating,” says Estil, explaining that recruitment is one of the main goals of the Tour de Troendelag.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.