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Comments by Norwegians Hetland and Bjoergen

Tour de Ski

Wed, Dec  31, 2008 - By FIS

Tor Arne Hetland (NOR) won the men's city sprint in Prague, Tour Stage Three:

"I hope that I will ski better here in Nove Mesto than I did in Oberhof, and really hope for a super good race tomorrow and then sprint on New Year's day. It is going to be tough tomorrow when many of the bonus seconds from Prague went to good classical skiers like Cologna and Roenning.

My body feels ok, in the shorter races anyway. It is good tp have a rest day but it is kind of boring when you do not have anything to do: you just ski some in the morning and then you have to hang out. kill the time and rest.

I see that competitions like Tour de Ski are the future of Cross-Country Skiing. They really show who is the ultimate skier that both controls sprint and distance, free and classical technique. I hope that gradually there will be a "Tour de Sprint" with predominantly sprint races. It is a shame for the Sprint cup that Hattestad is sitting home in Norway with the yellow bib - it would be fun to have him here.

My goal was to be top three in Tour de Ski, but now it seems hard so I think I have to change that for top ten instead!

I think the king of the Tour de Ski will be Swiss this year: Dario Cologna is looking really strong but of course I hope for a Norwegian at top of the podium!

On the ladies side I will bet on Marit Bjoergen as the queen this year - she is really looking strong and her skiing is better and better in every race."

Marit Bjoergen (NOR) before the Stages Four and Five in Nove Mesto (CZE):

"I have skied quite many races here in Nove Mesto so I know the course pretty well, and I will try to ski a similar race as I did in Oberhof. I will try to ski technically well and relaxed. Today I have skied some in the morning, and everything feels good.
 
Of course I was aiming for the finals yesterday in Prague, but I am satisfied anyhow since I got 40 bonus seconds and that feels good. I am in the top and fighting.

My goal is to win the Tour de Ski this year, and so far my body feels great. There are at least six - seven ladies that are up there fighting for the victory.

So far it is to early to say who the queen of Tour de Ski will be, there are still two classic distance races and one sprint before the climb toAlpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme."