DAVOS, Switzerland – Northug appeared calm when he met the press Friday for what will be his debut on the World Cup this season.
“Easy training days at altitude have been good for me. I’m excited to race. It’s a little strange that this will be the first World Cup races of the season, but I won’t be disappointed if I finish a little ways down on the result list,” Northug said during his 20-minute press conference in Davos, Switzerland Friday afternoon. The amount of Norwegian and Swedish press that came out for the press conference was impressive. Northug didn’t offer anything huge, but claims to be fully in control for the rest of the season.
“I only ask advice from myself. Everything else I just shut out,” Northug explained.
Advice from experts and former champions is not interesting to him.
Wants to crack the code
Northug left the FIS season opener in Beitostoelen Norway knocked out. He sat out the World Cup opener in Gällivare, Sweden, and the following World Cup round in Kuusamo, Finland. Now, Northug wants to crack the Davos code. A lot of racers run into trouble when they have to race at 1500 meters altitude. That is also true for Northug, whose 21st place here last season is his career best for Davos. Former results include a 34th and 55th place. “Bad results have nothing to do with mental strength. I just haven’t found the flow here. This time, I’ll race fast. I need a good race here. If I finish 20th, I’ll be satisfied,” Northug said. “It might have been good for me to fall down the drain a little.”
Could have raced in Kuusamo
“It’s not ideal, but this season, the World Championships are my main goal. If I wasn’t aiming for Oslo later this season, I might have chosen to race in Kuusamo,” Northug said.
While the rest of the racers stay in Davos, Northug has stayed 300 meters higher. “What I need in front of the World Cup races next weekend in La Clusaz (FRA) and in the Tour de Ski after that, is some really tough training events,” he explained.
At the press conference, Northug said he had not been following the TV coverage of the World Cup so far. “At that point, I was out training, but I’ve looked at the results. It appears that the same old racers are back to fight for the podiums this season as last,” he concluded.
Northug will go home over Christmas to celebrate the holidays with his family. All the media coverage has not affected Petter Northug. He’s just that much more intense in chasing the points.
From Langrenn.com, December 10, 2010. 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.