BIETOSTØLEN: Mikael Gunnulfsen (27) beat the cross-country elite and won the 15-kilometer classic by 27.3 seconds.
At the same time, he crushed many of the athletes launched to take the two empty places found on the team heading to the opening of the World Cup in Ruka, Finland next weekend.
– I have the Scandinavian Cup scheduled in Rovaniemi in December, so I’m going to Finland, yes. But I have no plans for what you are asking there, Gunnulfsen tells Dagbladet when we suggest it will now be a trip to Finland.
At the same time, he is clear about one thing:
– I am fully convinced that the performance I deliver today is good enough to go fast in Ruka. Whether or not I get the chance is not something I think about and it’s not my decision to make, says Gunnulfsen, continuing:
– I have one job, and that is to go skiing as fast as possible.
– So you won’t be disappointed if you don’t get a seat?
– It’s too early to judge. I just finished so I don’t know.
Probably won’t go
One who knows, however, is national coach Eirik Myhr Nossum. He has the task of taking the last two places after this weekend’s ski race at Beitostølen.
He has previously hinted that the places are reserved for players of the national team, and the four-leaf clover Finn-Hågen Krogh (didn’t go), Martin Løwstrøm Nyenget (34th place), Didrik Tønseth (5th place) and Sindre Bjørnestad Skar (13th instead) are expected to fight for them.
When asked by Dagbladet whether Gunnulfsen can go to Finland this weekend, Myhr Nossum replies:
– Not really.
The men’s coach believes that while many athletes have struggled with the weather conditions, it doesn’t make the winner’s performance any less. He is launching Gunnulfsen as a future World Cup runner.
– It doesn’t take anything away from the performance. It is very impressive. There is no doubt that such a race has international class. And then I hope he has a little “ice on the prize” on a possible five miles in the World Cup, etc. I know he’s no worse than a 15 kilometers at five miles, says Myhr Nossum, who was impressed .
– No wonder
– It is extremely impressive what he delivers today. It’s not surprising, but impressive. The reports are that he’s been solid in classics, he says.
Myhr Nossum means the three on the podium; Gunnulfsen, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo and Hans Christer Holund would end up there regardless of the weather.
– The three on stage generally go under identical conditions. Then all three likely have periods when some are lucky and some are unlucky, says Myhr Nossum.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Niklas Dyrhaug are also challengers to go to Ruka this weekend, but both ended up a bit behind in the snowy weather at Beitostølen. They finished in 40th and 41st place.