Rokka (Dagbladet): Norway’s sprint team was in a class of its own at the opening World Cup. Johannes Hosflotte Klapow, Even Northog, Paul Gulberg and Eric Valnes rounded out the top four in the classic race.
But before the Norwegians made mincemeat out of their competitors, it was an old acquaintance who challenged them.
Name is Calle Halfvarsson.
In the quarterfinals, the 33-year-old Swede felt invigorated. He was first entered in the race, ahead of Even Northug.
Being in front of Northug is a rarity for the Swedish skater, so he decided to take a dance and sent a clear signal to Even, the little brother of Halfvarsson’s former arch-rival Petter Northug.
From the goal area, Dagbladet saw that Halfvarsson tried to crouch, stretch his back a little and turn in Northug’s direction.
In the goal area, there was also a look in the direction of the young competitor. The 33-year-old did everything he could to show how easy he was to win the quarter-finals.
Fully conscious, says the Swede himself to Dagbladet.
– The intention was to speak after the quarter-finals. When things went well, I wanted to show myself off. I had a good hold then I thought Northog would struggle to beat me. I wanted to make it clear that it’s not going to be easy,” Havvarsson says, grinning brightly.
– How did Northug take it?
– I don’t think he reacts to that. Peter’s reaction was more in his time.
Even Northug impressed with his first individual podium in World Cup history.
– I’ve been waiting for this day. It means a lot. You made a good effort. He tells Dagbladet: There are many people around me who would be very honored to be standing here today.
Younger brother Northug laughs well at Havvarsson’s quarter-final stunt:
– If Kali wins today, she will be in the Quarterfinals. He exhausted all his strength there. When he turned there, I thought: “You’ll get this, because it’s the last time you hit me today.”
He was also absolutely right about that.
– What do you think of the trick?
Ordinary people say that no one knows where the bunny jumps, while we say that no one knows where Kali jumps. I think it’s funny with Callie. It’s the kind we need in the cross country circus. He has a little mouth, and I love that.
It also supports Johannes Hosflute Klæbo, who showed the class and scored a convincing victory on Friday.
Tastes so delicious after the past few months. It was tiring and boring, says Klæbo, who didn’t really want to recover, though he notes that when “you endure a classic race in Roca, you endure a lot”.
– What do you say about Havvarsson’s trick in the quarter-finals?
– I think it’s interesting to have a Swedish player in the final. You saw he ran fast up the hill in the quarter-finals, and then he wasn’t as fast in the final. It will be exciting to see him at a distance this weekend.
This is backed up by Eric Valens, who got a certified fourth after just over a week where his body didn’t respond as well as it intended:
– For Havvarsson to get Northug to spar with him is only a good thing. It’s nice to see he’s fit, we need a little bit of honing, and Kali is an attraction here. It’s a loose cannon on deck, Valens says.
Havvarsson himself is looking forward to the rest of the season:
– He responds well, and when I hit the technicals they go fast, he says.
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