Northug points to Klæbo – Klæbo points to Northug

Even Northug, 27, has won both sprint races he has entered so far this season. He has shown that he has taken another step since last year’s good season, which earned him a place in the national team.

The youngest brother in the Northug family was the best in Finland’s Muonio two weekends ago, and he was the best in Beitostølen last weekend.

But then Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, the world’s best classic sprinter in recent years, was absent. Klæbo is nearly unbeatable in this drill.

Northug saw himself as an outsider when he started with the best at the starting line-up for the first time in the 2022/2023 season.

– Glad to see Johannes go. He looked strong on the final hill and in practice. He will probably be counted tomorrow.

– Are you still the favorite even with Klæbo on the starting line?

– No, when Johannes Klæbo chose to compete in the classic sprint, he was the favourite. He’s won almost all of them in recent years, so he took that one.

– But you are a clear candidate for the podium.

– Yes, right. I know it. He will fight.


Johannes Høsflot Klæbo believes that he will have the strongest fight ever from his teammates Even Northug and Erik Valnes. Both Klæbo and Northug named Italy’s Federico Pellegrino and France’s Richard Jouve as the toughest overseas challengers.

Klæbo’s hamstring problems since the start of the summer have generated a lot of speculation in recent weeks. It was decided from the start that she would only do the long distance races at Beitostølen, and there she won both.

It was still NTB’s clear opinion when we interviewed him in Beito that he would be competing in all three races at Ruka this weekend, including Friday’s sprint.

Thursday’s decisive test on the long spring hill all the way to the stadium in Ruka went well for him. So there’s nothing to ask anymore.

– He had a good exam today, and now he’s on the list. It went well. He’s a bit quiet, but we’ll see now, said national team coach Arild Monsen.

Pine bench

When Klæbo addressed the press after about two hours of training, a calm, balanced and confident 26-year-old spoke up.

He still says that it’s time to pull on the emergency brake, and that he can seek a new treatment session with physiotherapist Øyvind Skarsaune.

– We have tried to take a little. Complaints do exist, but you shouldn’t discount the fact that I might be on the starting line tomorrow.

When he met the entire press corps during an international press conference a few hours later, a bit of uncertainty was dispelled. Then he finally decided to remain silent, and he told everyone who would listen.

There was never any doubt that Klæbo would compete in the two-distance race in Finland. Most indications are that Klæbo will be competing on most of the ski trails before Christmas, at least on the individual trails both at Lillehammer next weekend, and at Beitostølen and Davos the weekends after that again.

Britney Kirk

"Infuriatingly humble coffee guru. Travel practitioner. Freelance zombie fanatic. Certified problem solver. Food scholar. Student."

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