In January, Therese Johaug (NOR) was hands down the best skier in the final stage of the Tour de Ski, the steep uphill finish in Cavalese, Italy.
Sunday, she’s headed for the alpine hill Holtardalen/Rauland, Norway. The fastest skier up the 1.3-kilometer course wins the free use of a car for a year.
But there is more at stake. Johaug’s main challenger for the car is Fredrik Mandt of Skien, Norway. He has promised to eat his ski boots if Johaug, a.k.a. the Duracell bunny from Dalsbygda, beats him up the hill.
“They keep saying she’s impossible to beat uphill. But if Therese Johaug beats me, I will bring a fork and a knife, cut my ski boots into pieces and eat them at the top of the hill,” Mandt said to the Norwegian newspaper Varden.
Kristin Størmer Steira (NOR) and Sjur Røhte (NOR), who competed at the World Championships in Oslo earlier this winter, are also on the start list for Sunday’s hill climb.
On Saturday, Johaug will race a sprint in Skien.
From NTB/NRK.no, March 30, 2011. 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.