Marcus Hellner was unbeatable today and conquered victory in the opening race of the new season. He could not have wished a better result.
In the men’s 15 km interval start skate race, Marcus Hellner won in the stadium that is called after him in a tight fight against Dario Cologna his second World Cup victory. Two year’s ago he made on the same spot his first ever World Cup victory and were able to repeat that now with a gap of 11,4 seconds to the Swiss Olympic Champion. Daniel Rickardsson took the third place 20,1 seconds behind the winner. It was the first time that the Olympic Champion of the relay claimed on the World Cup podium in a free technique race.
Marcus Hellner had the fastest intermediate time at 5 km and 10 km while Dario decreased the gap in the second round but was not able to catch up the Swedish Olympic Champion. Hellner, who lives in Gällivare, were dressed new into the yellow bib for the World Cup leader. He is leading the standing 20 points ahead of Dario Cologna and 40 for Daniel Rickardsson.
Markus Hellner (SWE)
I had very good feeling, I felt like I had control today. It was really inspiring to race with all my best friends cheering out on the course, in my home town. I got one thought in the first lap that “you’re gonna win this”. I don’t want to feel like that, I thought that I should be focused on the race and not on what I would be or not. I was trying to stay focused and push myself. In the second lap I got some indications that Dario was faster than me and I thought that I most prepare to fight hard with him the last lap. I was a little bit worried because I felt more tired in the second lap, but then in the third it was feeling better again. I got, like I said, very good cheering from the people and it gave me energy to go hard in the end.
Dario Cologna (SUI)
Of course I’m very happy with the second place. I had a very good summer training. For the first race it’s always difficult to say how the shape is. Now I know that everything is going well. I’m satisfied and I had a good speed over the whole track and I think Marcus was too strong and he’s the right winner today.
It’s a good track, it’s a technical track with a lot of corners. And also good uphills I guess I like it, it’s a little bit like Vancouver. I had to be careful and I like this track. Now I want to take this good place to Kuusamo and still do good races there. I like these mini tours. The first and also Davos will be a main goal for me and at home. And then first main goal is Tour de Ski. I want to be on the podium again.
Daniel Rickardsson (SWE)
I have practiced a lot on my free technique this summer and autumn. Of course I’m really happy, because this is my first free technique podium place so it’s surprising for me too. Yeah, I really like it. It’s like Dario say, a tough course with a lot of corners and you have to be focused all the time. I haven’t trained so much here but I’ve had some competitions here before. I think it’s a really good course. My goal this year is like many others, the World Championship in Oslo. I have especially focused on the 50 kilometres classic style there. But now I think I’m, like now, good in free technique. Maybe some other races could be good for me to.