Kuusamo, FINLAND – Among the Norwegians, sprinters Ola Vigen Hattestad and Friday’s sprint winner John Kristian Dahl have return tickets already Saturday. Dahl dislikes the mini tour.
“We get more points for regular WC sprint races than we do here, there is a packed schedule with a lot of races before the end of the year, and we have important races in Düsseldorf (GER) already next weekend. To do three races here will take an incredible toll, and it seems a little misplaced,” Dahl said to the Norwegian TV station NRK.
The mini tour in Kuusamo (FIN) consists of three competitions. Sprint Friday, individual start classic on Saturday and pursuit start skate on Sunday. Only the overall winners will be listed as World Cup winners for the event.
“It’s no secret that the mini tour robs some of the status from the sprinters. For me as a sprint specialist, this is not great,” said Ola Vigen Hattestad.
The past two seasons, Ola Vigen Hattestad has won 100 world Cup points for each of the sprint victories here in Kuusamo. The Friday sprint winner only gets 50 points for that race. “I just have to do as well as I can,” Vigen Hattestad said.
On the women’s side, Norway fields nine racers, and none of them are considering leaving before the mini tour is over on Sunday. However, national team coach Egil Kristiansen is open to pull racers if they look like they need it.
Norway’s sprint team men will leave Saturday, regardless in order to save their energy for the Düsseldorf sprint the first weekend in December.
From NRK.no, November 25, 2010. Translation by Inge Scheve
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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.