OSLO, Norway – Dario Cologna and his Swiss teammate Curdin Perl are familiarizing themselves with the terrain for February’s events and training on the courses for the Oslo 2011 World Championships. But although Cologna was in town, he sat out the uphill race called “Oslo’s Steepest” last Saturday – an event that has lactic acid gushing through every muscle fiber for about 15 brutal minutes of running.
“Dario didn’t want to risk anything. He is suffering from a minor leg injury,” said his personal coach Fredrik Aukland, who accompanied Cologna. However, Cologna hung out at the finish to greet his teammate Curdin Perl as he hauled into a respectable fourth place.
“Petter Northug will be the guy to watch at the Worlds. The pressure is on him after the last season and the Worlds being on home turf,” Cologna said to the Norwegian TV station TV2, and he also mentioned Marcus Hellner (SWE) as a serious contender. While Cologna admits that a gold medal at the Worlds is one of his season goals, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
Taking notes at Holmenkollen
Cologna and Perl just finished their five-day stay in Oslo with their coach Fredrik Aukland, where the Swiss skiers spent their days studying the courses at Holmenkollen down to the smallest detail.
Dario Cologna won the 15 k freestyle at the 2010 Olympics, the opening event for the cross-country skiers in Whistler. He was also third at the 2010 Tour de Ski last season, while he won that event the previous season. He also won the overall World Cup in 2009.
Curdin Perl could be an outsider contender. He was second at the U-23 World Championships mass start in 2004 (behind Cologna), and he has won the massive Norwegian marathon event, the Skarverennet – a race that is capped at 12,000 participants and filled up within an hour after the online registration for the 2011 event opened last week. Perl feels particularly at home in Oslo now that he is dating the Norwegian national team racer Astrid Urenholdt Jacobsen.
From Langd.se, October 4, 2010 By Kjell Erik Kristiansen, translation by Inge Scheve
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.