Northug will not ski the Swedish Vasaloppet
But the U.K’s Pippa Middleton will
“He is not healthy enough to compete. We know that the boys he will compete against in the Vasaloppet have been training all year round, are very good and very difficult to follow even if you are in top form. Petter is now not in top form and in addition has stomach problems, so competing is out of the question,” said coach Trond Nystad to NRK.
The Swedish classic has been the main focus of Northug after the Tour de Ski was over in early January.
“It is a shame to have to stand by, since in the period after the Tour de Ski it has been the season’s major goal. I was looking forward to measuring myself against the competiton, especially as it went so well in Marcialonga,” said Northug to NTB through his press adviser Otto Ulseth.
The last week has been a race against time for Northug. He was sent home from altitude training earlier than planned, on Thursday of last week, because of stomach problems.
Back home in Norway, he has been to the doctor and been tested to find out what is wrong, but the cross-country star has therefore not been healthy enough or fast enough.
Earlier this week it was reported that a decision regarding whether or not Northug would compete in the Vasaloppet would be delayed until Thursday. Today, Wednesday, it was nevertheless decided.
National team doctor Knut Gabrielsen justified the decision after Northug had bad experiences with stomach problems earlier.
“We have learned that it can take many weeks before he is fully recovered,” said Gabrielsen.
Meanwhile, Pippa and James Middleton, sister and brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, will be participating in the classic Swedish race.
“It is now confirmed. We have been contacted by a person close to them who has asked us if we could arrange this. It’s really fantastic that such well known people will take part; it shows that our arrangements attract not only the most renowned skiers in the world but also some of the most famous personalities in the world as well! Everyone does it because it’s a challenge and achievement to ski Vasaloppet,” said Per Strid, the Vasaloppet’s Information Manager.